The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is asking members of the public to tell them what they want from the park in the future, and to think about what can be done collectively to make it happen.
Ten priorities have been proposed by the CNPA for the next five years and over the coming months there will be opportunities for people to tell them whether they agree and how they can help.
CNPA Convenor David Green said:
'Our vision is for an outstanding National Park, enjoyed and valued by everyone, where people and nature thrive together and by 2017 we want you to be some way towards feeling this.'
The priorities are outlined in the draft Cairngorms National Park Plan 2012-2017. The final version will be a management plan for the Park setting the vision and direction and providing the focus for all those responsible for managing the area.
David Green added:
'What's in the Park Plan will affect things like what support is available to land managers, how we prioritise effort to conserve species and habitats, the way communities can deliver their action plans, the opportunities people have for recreation and enjoying the Park and opportunities to grow the economy.'
'We will do our very best to manage this but we need everyone's help in telling us what the priorities should be and how they can help make it happen.'
The CNPA is particularly interested in views on:
- Increasing and improving woodlands and wetlands in the Park
- Helping communities adapt to a low carbon economy
- Getting more people involved through volunteering
- Improving species and habitat conservation
- Better communications infrastructure to support the economy
They'd also like to know what people think are the main issues in relation to local development in the Park and what the best options might be for dealing with them. This will feed into the Local Development Plan Main Issues Report which will shape the policies for local development, including sites where homes could be built.
CNPA Strategic Land Use Director, Hamish Trench said:
'Our unique setting means we have to find innovative solutions for sustainable development balancing the needs of our environment, the economy and people.'
That sounds reasonable, but hardly unique. He went on:
'We have looked at the anticipated housing need over the next 20 years and there is already planning permission to meet most of this demand. We still need some flexibility however for individual communities to grow and evolve. Affordable housing is an integral part of creating sustainable communities and the National Park Plan identifies the need to be innovative to match new housing with local need.'
Consultations on the draft Cairngorms National Park Plan 2012-2017 and Main Issues Report for the Local Development Plan run from Monday 19 September – Friday 9 December and can for the first time be completed online.
In October and November there will also be a series of community information events where the proposals will be explained in detail and there will be the chance to tell the CNPA whether you agree and whether something should be included which isn't there. Details on these have been sent to every household in the Park.
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority are also consulting on their draft National Park Plan.