George Allan

With the objective of improving the health of residents and visitors, the Cairngorms National Park Authority has produced Active Cairngorms. This strategy, published in draft and put out for consultation at the start of the year, aims to encourage people to become more physically active and to make doing so easier and more attractive. It approaches the issue via three themes:

Whilst no one would argue with the objective of improving public health through physical activity, the draft is an uncosted 'wish list' which fails to fully acknowledge or explore:

In its response to the consultation, NEMT argued that the document needs to identify such difficulties and then consider ways of reducing the problems rather than pretending that they don't exist.

While supporting the development of paths and cycle tracks in the population corridors and the possibility of creating additional specialist mountain biking facilities close to settlements, NEMT strongly underlined the importance of:

NEMT also stressed that it is a major and unacceptable omission that the document makes little reference to a number of the Park's other policy documents, plans or guidance. Examples of this are that there is no mention of the 'Cairngorms Nature Action Plan 2013-2018' or the Park's own 'Supplementary Planning Guidance on Wildness' (July 2011). We suggested that the proposals in 'Active Cairngorms' must be tested against all the other relevant plans to ensure that they do not conflict with them or, if they do, how such difficulties will be addressed.

There is a danger, as Drennan Watson has put it, that by trying to create a 'park for all people' you end up with a park for nobody. The consultation document is available. The consultation ends on 10th April.

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