In the last newsletter, Jennifer Cook reported on the work of the Recreational Forum. Since then, the Partnership has published their Annual Report and the results of the Landowners Survey.
The Partnership, funded by the Scottish executive, has an important role in effectively preparing for the proposed National Park. It is charged with preparing and implementing an integrated management strategy for the Cairngorms area. Like many modern institutions, it is an enabling mechanism and doesn’t undertake any work itself, but coordinates and funds others, typically the Partners. An important role is to publicise this work and the achievements of the partners.
CAIRNGORMS PARTNERSHIP 2000 – 2001 ANNUAL REPORT
The Annual Report itself documents, in some detail, what the Partnership achieved in 2000 –2001. Repeating the long list of achievements here would do little other than help any insomniacs. However, some more interesting snippets are listed below:-
- work to support repair and management of the area’s hill paths, including the work of the Upper Deeside Access Trust, reported in more detail later in this newsletter,
- efforts to provide a free waste collection service to local farmers and the use of landfill tax credits to organise the removal of tyres and scrap metal from farms in Tomintoul and Glenlivet,
- contributions to ongoing initiatives to further develop tourism,
- contributions to local community groups,
- work on capacity building with community councils, including a visit to the Brecon Beacons National park in Wales, and youth
groups to equip them to take an active role in plans for the coming National Park.
Areas where the Partnership didn’t fully meet its objectives include:-
- developing a five year pan-Cairngorms funding package for upland footpath repair,
- setting up a Cairngorms forum to coordinate woodlands initiatives (individual woodland initiatives are being progressed separately),
- work on moorland management setting up a demonstration site and applying for funding for a large moorland management project,
- development of a strategic vision for local ranger services.
The above is just a summary and gives disproportionate profile to areas where the objectives weren’t met as the much
shorter list is revealing about where future problems lie. People wishing to learn more about the Partnership’s work should
get a copy of their annual report.
2ND SURVEY OF LANDOWNERS IN CAIRNGORMS PARTNERSHIP AREA
The landowners survey is the second in the series, building on the 1998 – 99 survey. This year, about 45% of the
landowners replied, up from 41% in the previous survey. Although, the larger owners tend to have a better response rate, resulting
in the survey covering 70% of the land area.
The survey is important because landowners are responsible for the management of most of the land in the Partnership area
outside the towns and villages. They need to manage their holdings on a commercial basis. Even mass-movement bodies, such
as the National Trust for Scotland manage their land on a commercial basis, even if at times subsidised. These commercial
activities form a fundamental ingredient of the economic health of the area.
The survey has a wealth of data, which is difficult to summarise. Some key findings are listed below:-
- Timber production was up 24%, but interest in new woodland projects was down reflecting the continued depressed state of the
- Activity on field sports stayed broadly constant. Between them, 59 estates employed the equivalent of 249 full time people
last year. 20,715 Brace of grouse were bagged and at least 11,460 deer were culled.
- Expenditure on agriculture was down with a similar decrease in the level of subsidies received, possibly reflecting the
depressed state of the agricultural economy.
- 46 landowners welcomed visitors with limited restrictions on access for management purposes, 27 landowners welcomed visitors
but asked them to keep to designated paths on open ground and 1 landowner stated that visitors were not welcome on open ground
(wonder who that is?!? – probably needs a visit!!!)
- This group of landowners rented out over 1,000 full-time homes, half of them favouring a policy of local need when allocating housing.
- The group spent a total of £22,880,194 on managing all aspects of their business, using 542 local contracting firms.
- The majority of landowners were less optimistic about the future of the woodland, agriculture and tourism sectors but more
optimistic about the field sports and business administration sectors.
The results are difficult to interpret as it’s difficult to compare the relative value of activities and businesses not
connected with the landowners. These survey results would indicate that timber and field sports make up a very significant
part of the area economy. The true impact of tourism is almost certainly more due to the contribution from people unconnected
with the landowners. Maybe this should form part of a future survey? As noted above, the detailed information can be obtained
from the Cairngorms Partnership.
More information on National Park matters, plus both of the above Reports are available on the Partnership website, www.cairngorms.co.uk.
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