There is a need for sustained investment in the capital infrastructure of the National Park to aid the transition to a net zero economy and to ensure that the National Park is able to manage the two million visitors that come each year sustainably. This section sets out the high-level strategic approach to capital investment; a more detailed capital investment plan will be developed for the final National Park Partnership Plan next year.
We have identified five guiding principles for capital investment in the National Park:
Infrastructure will contribute to delivering net zero and strengthening the natural and social capital of the National Park.
Infrastructure will focus on the needs of the National Park and will contribute to the long-term outcomes as set out in the Partnership Plan.
Infrastructure will maximise local employment and support the development of a well-being economy.
Infrastructure investment will be focused on long-term solutions to key issues around visitor management, transport, flood management etc.
Equalities, diversity and inclusion
Infrastructure will help to ensure that the Cairngorms is a Park for All.
In the 2019 Programme for Government, the Scottish Government committed to establishing Regional Land Use Partnerships (RLUPs) in 2021, with an expectation that the partnerships will prepare Regional Land Use Frameworks (RLUFs) by 2023. The 2021 Programme for Government states: ‘We believe the way land is used and managed can help address the twin environmental and climate crises, and support a just transition – but it must change to do so. We have launched a set of Regional Land Use Partnership pilots this year – to test and develop new approaches to governance and decision making, and adopt a natural capital approach to land use change.’
The proposal for Regional Land Use Partnerships was first set out in Scotland’s Land Use Strategy in 2016, and the Climate Change Act in 2019 brought renewed ambition to the proposal. Land use and land use change is recognised as key to delivering Scotland and the UK’s climate change targets for 2030 and 2045, and Regional Land Use Partnerships are seen as pivotal to driving and delivering on this ambition, making a just transition to a net zero economy.
To meet the Programme for Government commitment to have RLUPs emerging by the end of 2021, Ministers decided to pilot RLUPs in five regions across Scotland. The Cairngorms National Park was selected as one of the pilot areas.
The aim of the RLUP pilots is to test the practicalities of different ways to establish RLUPs. They will test governance options and partnership working on a regional scale to help understand how to:
It is proposed that the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan is the high level Regional Land Use Framework for the National Park. This is then supported through further detail in plans, such as the Cairngorms Forestry Strategy (which sets out maps for woodland expansion) etc.
The Partnership Plan is the statutory management plan for the National Park that is approved by Scottish Ministers and is the responsibility of all public bodies to deliver.
It is proposed that the final plan will have a series of supporting documents that will collectively form the framework for the area. The Park Authority will also work with stakeholders over the next year to scope and establish what the Regional Land Use Partnership looks like.
The shape of this is dependent on the link between the partnership, framework and funding mechanisms, as the governance needed for a partnership that is accountable for decision-making around funding and a partnership that oversees a plan are quite significantly different.
The National Park Partnership Plan will be the Regional Spatial Strategy for the Cairngorms National Park that is required by the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. As such, the draft National Park Partnership Plan is the draft Regional Spatial Strategy for the National Park, and it sets out the long-term spatial strategy in terms of strategic development, in the context of the wider range of priorities identified to deliver the aims of the National Park in a collective and coordinated way.
The diagram below summarises the strategic developments that are required in the National Park in the future to contribute to the long-term vision for the National Park, and the delivery of the long-term outcomes and objectives of the National Park Partnership Plan in each of the Nature, People and Place themes.
Given that the Cairngorms National Park is a relatively remote rural place, with mostly small communities but high visitor numbers, there are relatively few individual and discrete strategic developments identified. However, there are a number of strategic development areas and priorities that are identified where multiple small but interconnected developments will support transformational change for Nature, for People and for Place that is significant at a national level.
The work across the National Park needs to be underpinned by high-quality research that is specific to the management needs of the National Park. The Park Authority will look to produce a high-level research strategy for the National Park, setting out the key needs within six months of the adoption of the Partnership Plan. This will also be underpinned by the Knowledge Exchange and Research Project that is part of the Heritage Horizons programme.
The National Park Partnership Plan is the high-level management plan for the National Park and is the Economic Strategy, Sustainable Tourism Strategy, Regional Spatial Strategy and the Regional Land Use Framework. It is supported by a number of action plans that will help to deliver the objectives of the plan and the National Park aims.
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