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Cairngorms National Park

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Protecting Biodiversity

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004, all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. Every three years, we report on the actions which we have taken to meet this biodiversity duty and you can view what we are doing here

Mar Lodge regeneration

Why is the Cairngorms National Park so important?

The Cairngorms National Park is one of the best places in the country for nature. This is where we find some of Scotland’s wildest land, arctic-like mountain plateaux and Scotland’s most extensive semi-natural pine forest, home to 80% of our capercaillie population. Half of the Park is designated as being of European importance for nature through the Natura network and over a quarter of the UK’s rare and threatened species are found here.

What steps are we taking?

The Conservation outcome in the Partnership Plan sets out the key conservation priorities which will guide the work of partners over the Plan period. The Agenda for Action and partners’ work under the three priorities of supporting landscape-scale collaboration, deer management and moorland management will help to meet the conservation challenges and deliver the relevant national strategies and public interest land-use priorities.

The Cairngorms Nature Action Plan further details the priorities over the next five years and provides a focus for the work of the Cairngorms Nature Partnership. The Action Plan describes actions and commitments to woodland expansion, peatland restoration, river re-naturalisation, nature-friendly farming, species conservation and involving and engaging people in nature.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority co-ordinates the work of the Cairngorms Nature Partnership, overseeing the delivery of the Action Plan. A final report of the Action Plan 2013-2018 highlights some of the partnership’s achievements. During 2020, Cairngorms Nature partners have delivered more than £100,000 of habitat improvement and species conservation via the Biodiversity Challenge Fund and 2,800ha of woodland expansion.

During the period from the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2020, we delivered 1,383 hectares of peatland restoration management supported by funding from Peatland Action. Delivery of peatland restoration management was significantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions and the lack of suitable contractors.

In 2020, CNPA launched a Cairngorms Green Recovery Fund to help communities and local businesses by supporting projects to create economic growth, jobs, protect nature and address climate change. The fund is made up of £100,000 from the CNPA and a further £30,000 from the Cairngorms Trust and has four guiding principles:

  1. To support projects that are focused on green solutions.
  2. To support the well-being and economic growth of communities.
  3. To support employment.
  4. To support the long term aims of the Cairngorms National Park.

The CNPA Local Development Plan identifies the most suitable sites needed for future development and incorporates guidance on any mitigation required for biodiversity, related to those allocations. The Plan also contains comprehensive policies on the protection of Natural Heritage and biodiversity of international to local significance.

  • Policy 4: Natural Heritage is divided into six sections covering all protected species and habitats as well as those within the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan. It requires developers to undertake comprehensive assessments of natural heritage interests on all development sites. The policy also includes a presumption against the removal of ancient woodland.
  • Policy 3: Sustainable Design includes a requirement for a design statement that demonstrates how opportunities to further biodiversity and promote ecological interest will be achieved.
  • Policy 10: Resources explicitly protects the water environment and carbon sinks and stores including soils and peat. T

The Cairngorms Local Development Strategy, led initially by Cairngorms LEADER and most recently by the Cairngorms Trust, aims to promote community-led local development to support a sustainable rural economy in the Cairngorms National Park. It is designed to tackle some of the challenges faced by people living, working or visiting the Cairngorms National Park.

The Strategy links directly with the Community Action Plans, National Park Partnership Plan and Scottish Government strategies. It is about supporting communities in planning for their future needs, tackling issues and challenges they face – including climate emergency and biodiversity crisis – as well as dealing with the responsibility it brings.

The objective to develop thriving and sustainable rural communities with a strong and resilient community base, supported by a diversified and competitive local economy, drawing on the Cairngorms’ unique natural and cultural assets, is split into six strategic themes.

Theme 5, to ‘Protect and enhance landscape and heritage’, focuses on increasing involvement of local communities in the protection and enhancement of natural and cultural assets. This includes land, wildlife, habitats, traditions, buildings, crafts, culture and reduction and mitigation of the impact of climate change.

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