The Scottish Campaign for National Parks has experienced planners in its membership that can assess the situation's planning flaws, while other groups have experience of tourism development and research in the Alps and elsewhere that shows the damage done to local communities and mountain environments by this form of tourism development. The pooling of such wide range of expertise and knowledge is very valuable.
Sometimes the liaison between the same groups is organised through Scottish Environment Link (SEL) as with a recent discussion on the governments review of national parks. The consultation document asked a wide range of questions. Putting a full response together is time consuming, especially for voluntary organisations with no paid staff. Prior to the meeting, the Cairngorms Campaign circulated one draft paper, and Bob Aitken who has experience of national parks in various countries circulated another. Together, they covered nearly all the ground and, after a good roundtable discussion, organisations could much more easily use their content to write responses.
SEL has a range of working groups on issues like landscape, deer management, marine etc. These are almost always focused on "sectoral" issues that require attention during the duration of the working group. However, on the ground, within specific areas like the Cairngorms, sectoral issues are worked out nested within a range of other issues and having to be integrated with them. Forestry policy affects landscape, but also access to hills, management of rivers, and so on. The Cairngorms, especially that part of them lying within the National Park, have always been a classic example of this situation and you need groups focused on such areas and which have the range of knowledge and expertise to pool their knowledge, understand these interactions, spread the workload, and help one another. That basically is what the Cairngorms Liaison Group does and in doing so can help NEMT in its job.
R Drennan Watson, Convenor of the Cairngorms Campaign
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