In Mountain Views Issue 67, we reported on the failure of the legal challenge, heard in the Outer House of the Scottish Court of Session, to the housing policies of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). This had been mounted by a group of voluntary organisations including the Cairngorms Campaign. An Appeal against one aspect of this judgement to the Inner House also failed this summer, when the judges held that the CNPA had not acted so unreasonably that their decision could be overturned - the CC had argued that their conduct was "unlawful".
Concerns are that land was allocated for major housing developments in a number of villages, and for the proposed new town of An Camus Mor, before the CNPA has fully determined whether there would be damage to protected sites and species. This point in law is to be tested again as the organisations involved have now lodged an Appeal to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, with the possibility of a reference to the European Court of Justice if the Supreme Court believes the issue is unclear. NEMT has provided financial assistance to help with the various appeals.
Many believe that the CNPA is, all too often, sacrificing the environment on the altar of economic development and this is hugely disappointing in a National Park. In relation to housing, proposed quotas for new units in a number of villages far outstrips what is needed for local residents and incoming workers. Many of these houses will become second homes and the extent of the developments will alter the character of many communities as well as causing environmental damage.
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