The engagement of this project has ended
5 months ago
Have you got any comments on the policies we have proposed?
A6 - These policies should include specifics on ensuring persecution of birds of prey ceases within the park. This includes direct killing as well as disturbance and destruction of nest sites.
There should be more focus on delivery as opposed to aspiration
Are there any policies you think should be added?
Planning process should be taken back from Aberdeenshire Council
The Policies are very aspirational. It is however, the detail below each of the policy statements which is required before really being able to fully comment. Key concerns include transportation targets in an area restricted in practical public transport; emphasis on young people in relation to housing - all demographics are struggling with affordable housing in the area - hence why holiday homes are prevalent; and many statements in terms of the economy focus on 'encouraging' supporting' - what exactly does that mean.
A more specific approach to developing the business economy; and the health of the community.
We agree with policy A1 that the Cairngorms National Park should push to achieve net zero by at the latest 2045. The Cairngorms National Park should act as an exemplar of action on the climate crisis and as such should keep up its ambitious work and should push to achieve net zero even before 2045. We agree that a focus on nature-based solutions such as woodland expansion and restoration will go a long way to contributing to the delivery of net zero for Scotland by 2045, and providing more opportunities for a just transition such as education and training opportunities, and green jobs.
Scotland’s Land-use strategy 2021-2026 highlights that Scotland’s land is finite and is under more pressure than ever before. As such it’s important that we balance the management and use of Scotland’s land to as the park plan states “deliver multiple benefits”. It will be essential that the park is “Conducting research to support management options” to decipher what land uses in what ratios will provide the most significant benefit environmentally, socially, and economically.
We agree with Policy A3. and would highlight that a reduction in deer numbers will contribute significantly towards enhancing “the resilience of habitats, species and land use to climate change, pest and disease risks” in particular peatland and woodland. But only if the targets for densities are hardened, proper counting and research into actual deer numbers and seasonal migration is undertaken using up to date methods and proper account taken of the true impact around honeypot woodland areas. Locally culling should be undertaken based upon actual damage done and the effect of high deer numbers on the environment rather than theoretical limits. Whilst deer are a natural part of woodland ecosystems high deer numbers negatively impact the structure and biodiversity of our woodlands. Impacting everything from herbaceous plants to smaller mammals. Controlling deer numbers will not only allow woodland expansion but also woodland restoration and ultimately allow the natural functioning of woodland ecosystem processes such as natural regeneration. This will contribute towards not only objectives A2 and A4 but also all of the park's objectives surrounding ecosystem restoration and connectivity.
As previously mentioned in order to support woodland creation and management especially natural regeneration control of the deer population will be essential. We would also highlight that woodland restoration will also improve habitat complexity and biodiversity and thus in turn habitat connectivity for a wider range of species and whilst the text does mention woodland management, management and restoration are not synonymous, this wording should be added to ensure there is no ambiguity in the text. We agree that supporting off-site mitigation from development could contribute towards the creation of ecological networks but would also highlight that in all instances the mitigation hierarchy should be used to first avoid damage before mitigating, and that in most cases habitats should be like for like replaced and that mitigation cannot be achieved where irreplaceable habitats are involved. There is also a huge amount of benefit to integrating nature within development designs.
Whilst it's important to think about ecosystems holistically and we can’t forget about habitat quality, we would wholly support policy A6 “Conserve and enhance the species for which the Cairngorms National Park is most important” and in particular would like to call attention to the assemblages of ancient woodlands, UKBAP species reliant on old woodland and connectivity, and designated features on SAC/SPAs.
We agree broadly with the People policies. The benefits of nature and accessing the outdoors for people health and wellbeing has never been more evident than now highlighted further by the current global pandemic. But equally never has the impact of high visitor numbers been more evident than during the pandemic with increased pressure on both the infrastructure, environment, and communities of our national parks. As such we would really support policy B3 and its focus on finding the balance of opportunity for access and limiting negative impacts on the Cairngorms. Whilst it will be vital to promote “responsible behaviour in enjoying and managing access”, it could also be beneficial to promote lesser-known areas of the park to distribute visitor pressure more evenly across the park and reduce pressure on the most well used areas.
We also believe that policies B4 and B5 are so vitally important and must remain in the final plan. Everyone has a right to access, engage with and learn about our national parks and their nature, geology, history etc. It will be essential that the right opportunities are available, that there is investment in infrastructure to support this including green public transport links, disabled toilet facilities, accessible paths, and routes, that streets have drop curbs and shops, restaurants, accommodation etc. are all accessible to all.
Under the policy ‘C6 4.’ it would be beneficial to consider changing it to ‘including its arts, sports, community, and woodland heritage’. As one the most heavily wooded parts of Scotland, woodland heritage is an important part of cultural heritage of the Cairngorms as evidenced by the considerable number of place names that have a woodland component.
Add “Encouraging and” to the beginning of the paragraph. This will ensure that the CNPA will be more action oriented in achieving the development outcomes.