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EDITIONS
Thursday, 30 May, 2002, 05:25 GMT 06:25 UK
National park plans unveiled
Cairngorms
The park will be smaller than expected
Proposals to create the UK's largest national park in the Cairngorms have been greeted with anger and disappointment.

The boundaries announced by the Scottish Executive are smaller than expected.

Ministers have decided to exclude two local authorities from the Cairngorms National Park altogether.

And they have ignored a petition calling for the new park body to be given full planning powers.


We have sought to strike a balance between the desire to include all those who want to be part of such an exciting venture and the need to create a park with a clear focus and identity

Allan Wilson
Deputy minister
The park was expected to be more than twice the size of the Lake District.

However, the plans put forward by the Scottish Executive showed boundaries stretching from Grantown-on-Spey in the north to the Glenshee ski area in the south, and from Ballater in the east and Kingussie and Newtonmore in the west.

That will still make it the largest in the UK, but does not include the areas which fall within the boundaries of Perth and Kinross and Angus.

Bill Wright of the Cairngorms Campaign said the proposed boundary threatened to destroy one of the nation's most priceless assets.

He also predicted it would wreck the Cairngorms' chances of being chosen as a world heritage site.

'National treasure'

However, the Scottish Executive said that it wanted to keep as tight a focus as possible.

The final proposals were announced by deputy environment and rural development minister Allan Wilson.

"The area we want to include in the park is already a national treasure," he said.

"That means we will expect the park to benefit not only those communities within its boundaries, but also people all across Scotland who enjoy the outdoors, such as walkers, anglers or naturalists.

Coire an Lochain
Many climbers make use of the Cairngorms
"In putting forward proposals on the powers and extent of the park, we have sought to strike a balance between the desire to include all those who want to be part of such an exciting venture and the need to create a park with a clear focus and identity."

The members of the park authority will be either directly elected or nominated by Highland, Aberdeenshire and Moray councils, or appointed directly by ministers.

The body will have responsibility for conserving and enhancing the special qualities of the area.

It will also support the social and economic development of the area's communities.

And the authority will work in partnership with the local councils on planning issues.

First park

Ministers had received a petition calling for the new park body to be given full planning powers.

The Cairngorms Campaign and the Scottish Council for National Parks had called for the step, but Highland Council felt it should retain control.

The park is due to be designated next year.

Scotland's first national park, which will cover Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, will be established in July.

See also:

22 Aug 01 | Scotland
11 Jun 01 | Scotland
05 Jul 00 | Scotland
24 Mar 00 | Scotland
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