Our Honorary Member, Dr Adam Watson, renowned mountaineer and ecologist, gave us a very inspiring talk at our well-attended December AGM. He told us "We live in a new political landscape. To be effective voluntary bodies, like NEMT, should remember we now have a Scottish Parliament which, unlike Westminster, is outwith the influence of the House of Lords."

"Here in Scotland, we need to persuade our MSPs to take our case to the Scottish Parliament. We need to show them the increasing ground swell of voters who are seriously concerned about the unacceptable state of the Scottish mountain environment." Supported by his wife, Aberdeenshire Councillor Jenny Watson, we took to heart Dr Watson's point that the voluntary work that NEMT undertakes to minimise environmental damage should be better marketed. In Dr Watson's opinion promoting sustainable enjoyment of the mountains is also vitally important and there are many more individuals who enjoy the outdoors that need representation and would strongly support the work of the Trust.
(Editors Note: Three cheers for Dr Watson, would any non-members please now turn to our Membership Application Form.)

The importance of recognising the national and international significance of the Cairngorms National Park was discussed in the context of the local significance. Dr Watson also warned us "There are already signs that the Loch Lomond National Park Authority will get the necessary powers to run their Park effectively but that SNH has told the Government they think planning controls in the Cairngorms National Park should remain with the Local Authorities." Dr Watson advised that for the Cairngorms to become a national showpiece, whilst at the same time supporting strong local communities, application of the ZONING PRINCIPLE would be essential. Whereas sensitive core areas need maximum protection to safeguard their heritage value, buffer zones can be used to accommodate visitors on which local communities depend - provided these are in sympathy with the main aims of the Park.

Readers can rest assured we have drawn on Dr Watson's knowledge and experience when putting together the NEMT Response to the Cairngorms National Park Consultation.

Jennifer A Cook, April 2001

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