Members of the public can now officially submit their views on plans to shape the future of the popular national park in the Highlands.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has launched the formal consultation phase for the next Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan.
The draft plan draws on the extensive public feedback received since June. It also sets out how those with a responsibility for the national park can 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.
Over the summer, the CNPA gave people the opportunity to help shape a draft partnership plan.
Anyone with an interest was able to take part in answering a series of questions. Participants could drop a pin in areas where they considered an issue needs addressed using interactive mapping tools.
The key issues highlighted
Over 500 responses were gathered from the informal consultation phase on the plan, highlighting the public’s views on a range of topics critical to the future of the Cairngorms National Park.
Tackling the climate emergency, tree planting and peatland restoration were some of the key themes included. Meanwhile, some highlighted the need to improve walking and cycling routes and public transport.
Affordable housing, looking after the needs of the local workforce, and managing the impacts of increasing visitor numbers were also concerns raised.
Xander McDade, convener of the CNPA board, said: “We’re very pleased with the great response we’ve had so far and I would like to thank all those who have already responded their thoughts to help shape the draft plan.
“I feel that the draft National Park Partnership Plan is probably our most ambitious to date and has been shaped not just by public sector and third sector partners, but by local businesses and the people who live and work here.”
Mr McDade explained: “It is vitally important that everyone who calls the National Park home, or enjoys the Cairngorms for recreation or works here, gets involved in this consultation so that it reflects the future we all aspire to and is truly a park for all.”
The formal consultation process
The formal consultation process for the fourth Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan started on Thursday 23 September and will run until the 17 December 2021.
Responses will be gathered through a number of different physical events and digital platforms including the dedicated Cairngorms Views website and interactive mapping tools.
A consultation report will be produced next year that sets out all the key feedback, which will inform any changes to the plan before it is approved by the park authority board and submitted to Scottish Ministers in June 2022 for final sign off.
The Scottish Government’s minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity Lorna Slater believes that national parks play a vital part in tackling the climate crisis.
She said: “Urgent action is needed to tackle the climate and nature crisis. We must work together – individuals, communities, and businesses – to deliver transformative change.
“I urge all who care about the people, communities and natural environment of the Cairngorms National Park to share their voices through the channels offered within the this public consultation to shape a meaningful plan for the future of the Park.”