At the December meeting SNH's Mark Wightman presented on the Cairngorm National Park Proposal (CNPP) and we all enjoyed a healthy discussion on the contents thereof. We also waded through the intricacies of the Scottish Executive Direct Elections Consultation Paper.

Due to my temporary inability to drive I missed the January Planning Workshop and the February meeting. The Workshop papers made interesting reading however. This included David Tyldesley's (Environmental Planning Consultant) paper on planning legislation with reference to National Parks. Such anomalies as the pre-occupation of CNPP with Town and Country Planning issues came to light, when it is legislation to do with land management that is going to be of main concern in a National Park. All 7 English National Parks, and the 3 in Wales, have their own Planning Authority with Local Authorities acting as statutory consultees. Are Scottish politicians going to have to learn the hard way in the Cairngorms?

Laura Wedderburn of CRAGG (Cairngorm, Rothiemurchus and Glenmore Group) presented to the February meeting. Individual submissions on the CNPP have since been made for Ruathy Donald, the Cairngorm Partnership Management Co-ordinator, to distil down into a Forum response. The development on the Cairngorms Recreation Charter was discussed. For this I forwarded my concerns that we must emphasis that the Recreational Forum is supporting appropriate forms of recreation in the Cairngorms. Professor Larry Hamilton of the IUCN had warned us at our September Seminar that "Inappropriate recreation and visitor use represents the biggest threat to the integrity of a National Park."

Being on this Forum results in receiving a lot of interesting papers, for example both the Cairngorms Community Council (CCC) and the Cairngorms Youth Group have brought out their own Manifesto for the National Park. We also share minutes of the CCC and the SLF Cairngorms Liaison Group. CCC has been incredibly busy contacting MSPs, getting talks from English National Park Authorities etc and is clearly preparing to play an active role in the Cairngorms National Park.

Jennifer A Cook, April 2001

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