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Four weeks left for public to have say on future of Cairngorms National Park

By Lorna Thompson

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THE public are being urged to have their say on the future of the Cairngorms National Park.

With four weeks until the close of the consultation on the next Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan (NPPP) views are being sought on what is considered the most crucial NPPP to date.

The consultation has received more than 400 responses since opening in September.

Issues around nature and the environment have attracted a particularly high response.

However, the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is also keen to hear people's views on issues such as transport, housing and tourism.

Grant Moir, CNPA chief executive, said: "The need to act at pace and scale on the climate and nature crisis is clearer than ever and, of course, when the previous NPPP was launched back in 2017, no one knew what Covid-19 was.

"So much has changed in the last five years, so our next National Park Partnership Plan needs to be ambitious and robust to address the many issues we face.

"The draft park plan that is currently out for consultation represents the most ambitious set of targets and actions we've ever considered – but does it capture all the priorities for the park?

Birch and pine at Rothiemurchus Forest, in the Cairngorms National Park.
Birch and pine at Rothiemurchus Forest, in the Cairngorms National Park.

"We want to hear what people have to say about supporting jobs for young people, greater community empowerment, health and wellbeing – both of residents and visitors – as well as the local economy, diversification, skills and training.

"We need everyone with an interest to log onto the consultation website or get in touch and share their views with us."

The draft plan draws on extensive public feedback received over the summer and sets out how all those with a responsibility for the park will co-ordinate their work to tackle the most important issues.

This will be the fourth Partnership Plan since the national park was established in 2003.

Key themes which emerged in the draft planning stage included tackling the climate emergency, improved public transport and better walking and cycling routes, affordable housing, looking after the needs of the local workforce, woodland expansion and peatland restoration, and managing the impacts of increasing visitor numbers.

The formal consultation runs until Friday, December 17. Responses are being gathered through a number of events and digital platforms, including the Cairngorms Views website.

A consultation report will be produced in the New Year that sets out all the key feedback, which will inform any changes to the plan before it is considered for approval by the Park Authority Board and submitted to Scottish ministers in June 2022 for final sign-off.

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