Dave Windle

I have joined the Cairngorms Uplands Advisory Group to represent access and recreation interests across the park. The group consists of 24 people, representing a wide range of interests covering landowning, research, NGOs, local communities, SNH and groups such as Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust. Initially, it is chaired by Judith Webb from the park board. In time it is planned that the group will choose their own chair.

The functions of the group are.

So far, the group has met once in March with the next meeting scheduled for October. The group is large and represents very different interests. It will be a challenge to get it to agree to anything. However, there is no doubt that getting the differing views into one room should help to find common ground.

One positive outcome is the decision to form a sub-group to look at ATV use to try and avoid situations where excessive use over sensitive ground has led to a claim that an engineered track is needed to stop further damage. An example is the Balavil planning application discussed in the previous issue. Potentially, this allows estates to build tracks wherever they want by simply trashing the ground with excessive ATV use and then saying that the only solution is an engineered track (which is what they wanted in the first place).

The group has met once with the objective of producing a best practice guide for ATV use on sensitive upland habitats. The group consists of

A small sub-group works well and certainly enabled me to appreciate the problems from the other side. Work is proceeding on the best practice guide which will be then referred back to the full group for approval before release.

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