Glen Affric National Park

Glen Affric is world-renowned not only for its beauty but for a wide variety of flora and fauna. It is already a National Nature Reserve reflecting the protection and conservation measures taken over many years. The Glen is also home to several Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) relating to specific areas having their own conservation requirements. A National Park centred on Glen Affric would also include as a minimum its neighbours Glen Cannich and Glen Strathfarrar both having a number of designated areas of environmental protection. In terms of conservation the step up to National Park status is therefore less for Glen Affric than any of the other prospective sites. One of the main issues for National Park status must be the creation of a suitable infrastructure not only to ensure adequate access and visitor facilities but to manage visitor movements into and within the NP. It is therefore vital that any National Park management plan should consider restrictions on vehicles (in particular certain types of vehicle) perhaps introducing a green ‘park n’ ride’ facility that helps reduce carbon emmissions while limiting traffic within the National Park itself.

Why the contribution is important

A major concern for any National Park is that the interests of the local community must be viewed seriously. Any new National Park must demonstrate community support and not be selected based on views expressed elsewhere in the country. In general terms regarding land use, landowners and external agencies invariably collaborate without proper consultaion with the communities living and working in the area. Where tree planting and/or peat reclamation schemes are deemed necessary to combat climate change then these schemes must work in conjunction with local people in terms of their employment and economic opportunities. The financial interests of landowners should be seen as secondary. Glen Affric National Park should therefore be managed by a board having greater community input than we see in the Cairngorms or Loch Lomond. Looking forward to a more meaningful consultation process than this present exercise which hopefully is just a basis for more detailed discussion.

by jimmcauley on June 06, 2022 at 09:09AM

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  • Posted by camusfearna June 06, 2022 at 10:39

    Interesting thoughts on a NP based on the Glen Affric area. Serious consideration needs to be given to whether such a designation could in fact be counter-productive in terms of increasing visitor pressures, increasing the demand for second and holiday homes and so on, unless a national park authority were given greater powers over such matters than currently is the case. Community involvement is very important, so too the need to reflect national policies and priorities - only fitting if an area is to be designated a 'national' park.
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