We have a plan ...
In the last Newsletter, we outlined the interim results of the then ongoing
membership survey. Since then, we have had replies back from many member clubs
and a few remaining individuals and have completed the exercise. The summary
of results set out in last year's Newsletter remains essentially the same.
Since then, we have taken the opinions and combined them to produce a strategic
plan outlining NEMT's future direction. This Plan is still being discussed
within the General Council and is some way from being finalised. One significant
aspect is that we are proposing to seek funding for a part-time Development
Officer. This might seem ambitious but a bit of ambition never hurt and almost
all of the actions needed to secure funding serve the function of trying to
create a more focussed organ isation, not spreading ourselves too thinly, concentrating
on the areas where we can add the most value. Employing somebody is a major
step and one that we won't be taking lightly.
In the meantime what do you think of the Plan set out below? We would still
appreciate hearing from Individual Members and Clubs.
NEMT Strategic Plan 2010-2013
INTRODUCTION: The North East Mountain Trust was founded with a remit
to protect the mountains of Scotland and other areas of wild land from developments
which might erode their unique qualities. This strategic plan has been developed
with a view to developing the Trust's capacity to deliver this objective
in the most effective ways.
BACKGROUND TO THE NORTH EAST MOUNTAIN TRUST: Local climbers founded
the North East Mountain Trust in the late 1970s to mobilise a national campaign
to oppose the creation of a super quarry at Longhaven, south of Peterhead. Such
a development would have destroyed an important climbing ground and, perhaps
more importantly, damaged a dramatic and beautiful stretch of coast along with
nesting grounds for a variety of seabirds. The campaign was successful and the
coastal strip, now owned bythe Scottish Wildlife Trust, is protected for ever.
A second major victory was the prevention of mechanised skiing, with an attendant
road, into Lurcher's Gully. The urbanisation of the Northern Corries of Cairngorm
was averted and, in the light of the current difficulties facing Scotlands
skiing industry, an economic white elephant was avoided. At times defeat had
seemed certain, with elements amongst the climbing fraternity showing a willingness
to compromise. NEMT, however, stood firm on the principle that Lurchers
was wholly inappropriate.
The context of mountain and wild land protection has changed dramatically since
those early crusades. Voluntary bodies, such as the John Muir Trust and the
Cairngorms Campaign, have emerged. Countrywide activity is co-ordinated through
organisations such as Scottish Environment Link, which NEMT was involved in
founding, and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. National Parks have become
a reality. NEMT has continued to act to ensure that wild land, particularly
in the North East, is safeguarded for all hill goers. In recent years, it has
focussed particularly on the unacceptable, and often illegal, proliferation
of hill tracks in the Cairngorms. It has provided evidence to inquiries which
have led to estates having to make good the damage. In addition, NEMT successfully
organised a project to test the feasibility of mapping all tracks in the Cairngorms
and is in the process of extending this beyond the pilot phase. NEMT has supported,
or constructively criticised, a host of initiatives such as the maintenance
foot paths, wind farms and the Cairngorm National Park plans. A winter lecture
programme on climbing and environmental themes provides interest and entertainment.
To guide its future direction, NEMT consulted its members and other interested
parties in 2009. Key themes which emerged from this exercise have been incorporated
into NEMTs objectives and activities outlined below.
CONSTITUTION AND MEMBERSHIP: NEMT is a voluntary, charitable body registered
with Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. It is a membership organisation
which represents around 750 people through individual and club membership. With
affiliated and reciprocal arrangements with other bodies which share its aims,
it acts on behalf of around 20000 people.
AIM: To protect wild hill country and remote coastal areas, with particular
focus on North East Scotland, for the benefit of people who enjoy visiting such
OBJECTIVES - NEMT will:
- engage in developing and supporting best practice in the management of wild
and remote land.
- defend access to wild land as enshrined in the Land Reform [Scotland] Act
- conserve wild and remote areas from developments and activities which are
not in keeping with such places.
- increase awareness amongst the wider public regarding the value of wild
- keep its members and related organisations informed of issues related to
- represent the views of its members in all its activities by disseminating
information and seeking the views of the membership.
A. Hill tracks - NEMT will:
- Continue to map existing tracks in the Cairngorms in order to provide a
data base for future decision making. This will include the digitalisation
of the hand produced map of tracks created by an NEMT member.
- Encourage best practice in the maintenance of existing hill tracks.
- Challenge the creation of new tracks or the upgrading of existing tracks
where these contravene planning law.
- Work with other organisations to change the law regarding the creation
of new tracks in upland environments.
B. Paths in the Cairngorms and remote coastal areas - NEMT will:
- actively support organisations dedicated to maintaining existing paths by
encouraging best practice regarding minimal visual intrusion.
- oppose the creation of new build paths in mountain areas.
C. Conservation and access issues - NEMT will:
- Promote, where appropriate, the concept of the long walk-in.
- Monitor the implementation of the sections of the Land Reform [Scotland]
Act 2003 addressing legitimate access in its areas of interest and take action
where this is hindered.
- Encourage best practice in communication between estates and hill goers
regarding access in the stalking season.
- Support the protection of native pine forest and appropriate reforestation.
- Support energy conservation and renewable energy developments except where
the lattererode the remoteness of wild land.
- Encourage good practice in the protection of birds, mammals and plant life,
particularly where these are protected bylaw, in its areas of interest.
- Co-operate with other agencies to facilitate the maintenance of hill paths
where these are subject to serious erosion.
- Respond to consultations from statutory bodies regarding issues within
- Work with the Cairngorm Campaign to create an archive of relevant material.
- Prepare policy and standards documents and statements on key issues.
D. Engagement - NEMT will:
- Gather and assess information relevant to its aim.
- Disseminate information via Mountain Views, the winter lecture
programme, the annual report, the website and other means of communication
to update interested parties on key issues and to stimulate debate.
- Brief local and national political representatives on issues regarding
the protection of wild land and raise specific matters of concern with them
- Workwith other environmental organisations, both statutory and voluntary,
on issues of mutual interest such as wildlife and botanical surveys, wildlife
protection campaigns, the legal protection of wild land etc.
- Involve the membership and other interested parties in its campaigning
- Organise awareness raising and monitoring field trips involving the membership
and the wider public.
- Engage with statutory organisations as required.
- Comment in the media on issues relate to best practice in the conservation
of wild land.
E. Governance - NEMT will:
- Prepare a strategic plan.
- Review its constitution.
- Change its status to that of a company limited by guarantee or other appropriate
- Seek funding from non-statutory sources for the employment of a part- time
- Seekfunding as required for single projects.
- Review the role of the General Council in the light of the employment of
a development officer.
- Endeavourto increase the membership.
- Encourage the involvement of the membership in specific activities and
PRIORITY ACTIVITIES FOR 2010 TO 2012
In addition to its ongoing commitments, NEMT will:
- Further develop its work on hill tracks, including working with others
on legislative control from a national perspective.
- Engage more fully with the issue of the appropriate maintenance of hill
paths in its area of interest.
- Implement a programme of awareness raising and monitoring field trips..
- Brief local councillors and MSPs on matters of interest and concern.
- Review its governance and implement any changes which this exercise recommends.
- Seekfunding for a part-time development officer.
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