The following letter  draws attention to a  clear breach of trust by the CNPA
it was published in the Strathy on 24 May 2012

The following letter  draws attention to a  clear breach of trust by the CNPA. It was published in the Strathy on 24 May 2012.

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CNPA Consultation document:

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Letter published in the Badenoch and Strathspey Herald 10 May 2012:

Sir,
Recently the Cairngorms National Park Authority were unanimously minded to approve a major development for a large retail outlet in Aviemore for which there is no reference in their local plan or any detailed associated 'Appropriate Assessment' or strategic assessment of environmental impacts, despite its proximity to a European Conservation Site. The proposal the CNPA supported conflicts with their own Policy 5 on Biodiversity and with the founding National Park legislation that gives legal primacy to the 1st aim of the Park where there is conflict with other aims. Further, the planning conditions do not follow best practice and, in terms of Scottish law, the CNPA have apparently breached their legal Biodiversity Duty.

Despite all this, and not to mention significant unaddressed concerns raised by Architecture + Design Scotland, senior CNPA board member, David Green, is quick to confidently conclude that the CNPA has achieved a "sustainable outcome as befits a National Park" (Strathy 'Park Talk' May 2).

northern-damselfly

Northern damselfly - Coenagrion hastulatum coenagrionidae

One of the environmental impacts of the Tesco superstore is the complete destruction of the former Santa Claus land lochan that for over a century has been known as a breeding site for one of our rarest damselfies, the Northern damselfly. This beautiful insect is restricted in the UK to only some 35 sites since it appears to require very specific conditions. It has its stronghold in the Cairngorms and is classed as 'endangered' in the UK because it faces a 'very high risk of extinction in the near future'. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the species that Scottish Ministers have listed as of principal importance for conservation in Scotland and, being on the Scottish Biodiversity List, is a treasure for which the CNPA has national legal responsibilities. In addition, this pool has been assessed as of the highest conservation value and supports a wealth of other wildlife, including rarities.

The CNPA have proposed translocating the damselfly and other wildlife to a different site. Rightly, the CNPA themselves recognise that such a move would be experimental and there is no guarantee of success. Such an operation has not been tried before, little is known about the northern damselfly, it has characteristically low populations at its breeding sites and the CNPA do not know whether an appropriate pond and surrounding habitat exists or could be created. If the CNPA seriously want a successful outcome they should have ensured best practice is carefully applied. But rather than maximise the chances of success, the CNPA's planning conditions fail to ensure best practice and do not follow national policy on translocations. This policy requires that the new population is monitored over several generations - that is several years - in order to assess the outcome of the translocation. It seems to BSCG particularly irresponsible that the CNPA have apparently not stipulated that the original lochan must be safeguarded until the translocation is known to have been successful.

Like the lochan, the Milton or Aviemore Burn that runs beside the Tesco site also has an unusually high conservation value. Tesco's own ecologists have reported that this burn supports the Northern February red stonefly. This rarity now occurs nowhere in the world other than certain parts of Scotland. We have an exceptional responsibility for this fascinating species, yeits existence and its vulnerable status.

It is time that the CNPA started to appreciate that poor planning is particularly unacceptable in a National Park. The 'air brushing out' of conflicts with the natural heritage and the failure seriously to address specific environmental concerns is a sure road to environmental deterioration.

Gus Jones
(Covener Badenoch and Strathspery Conservation Group)

As a result of bad planning a Lochan in Aviemore  could be tesco-ed needlessly destroying the home of the UK’s scarcest damselfly the northern damselfly (see http://www.buglife.org.uk/Resources/Buglife/Documents/ScottishInvertebrateNews_2_2.pdf .)
BSCG is disappointed that our call to CNPA staff for a flawed  planning paper to be withdrawn has been rejected .
The response by the CNPA to our call contained in a letter to senior CNPA staff  fails to explain why CNPA planners  have appeared to disregard guidelines on translocation that their own specialists have advised.
As reported on the front page of the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald (25 April) we have commented that:
“The translocation has to be demonstrated to be successful before the donor pond is destroyed and made into the Tesco car park. It is self evident that the existing donor lochan on the site must be safeguarded until several generations of the rarest species such as the northern damselfly have been proved to have successfully bred at any new pond”.
In our view the CNPA  planners are unnecessarily pursuing a course of action which rides roughshod over  the 2004 Nature Conservation Scotland Act.  As the CNPAs adviser has made plain  A translocation programme should follow the guidelines for translocating species as laid down by the JNCC “A Policy for Conservation”
BSCG will be making public how board members who are also standing for council elections will vote to help conservation minded voters make their choice in the forthcoming elections.

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As a result of bad planning a lochan in Aviemore could be tesco-ed needlessly destroying the home of the UK’s scarcest damselfly the northern damselfly (see Scottish Invertebrate News PDF).

BSCG is disappointed that our call to CNPA staff for a flawed planning paper to be withdrawn has been rejected .

The response by the CNPA to our call contained in a letter to senior CNPA staff  fails to explain why CNPA planners  have appeared to disregard guidelines on translocation that their own specialists have advised.

As reported on the front page of the Strathspey and Badenoch Herald (25 April) we have commented that:

“The translocation has to be demonstrated to be successful before the donor pond is destroyed and made into the Tesco car park. It is self evident that the existing donor lochan on the site must be safeguarded until several generations of the rarest species such as the northern damselfly have been proved to have successfully bred at any new pond”.

In our view the CNPA  planners are unnecessarily pursuing a course of action which rides roughshod over  the 2004 Nature Conservation Scotland Act.  As the CNPAs adviser has made plain  A translocation programme should follow the guidelines for translocating species as laid down by the JNCC “A Policy for Conservation”

BSCG will be making public how board members who are also standing for council elections will vote to help conservation minded voters make their choice in the forthcoming elections.

Following four days in the Court of Session in Edinburgh It is likely to be some months before we can expect the judgement of Lord Glennie in the case challenging the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) over the 2010 local Plan for the National Park. The case challengess a number of allocations in the local plan adopted by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). The grounds  include that the CNPA failed to take reasonable account of damaging environmental impacts, in spite of legal obligations including the founding legislation for National Parks in Scotland. The case was brought by BSCG jointly with the fellow environmental groups the Cairngorms Campaign and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks. All parties appeared grateful that the judge allowed extra time on the last day avoiding the delays and added expense of extending the proceedings to a later date.
Sir Crispin Agnew QC pesented the case for BSCG and our co appellants. Douglas Armstrong QC presented the response for the Cairngorms National Parks Authority. The Convener for the National Park Authority described   the CNPA as defending the case “robustly”.  James Findlay QC represented  three further respondents  ( developers and landowning interests)  each involved with sites where housing  allocation in the local plan could be quashed by the court.
One outcome we are hoping for is that   allocations for new built development will be quashed. The allocations raised in the case are at Nethybridge, Carrbridge, Kingussie and An Camas Mor.   The largest of these is the An Camas Mor 1500 house new town proposal in the Cairngorms National Scenic Area across the River Spey from Aviemore.
Another outcome of the judgement could  be to clarify important matters of legal principle of general  public interest;  such as giving timely and due weight to environmental concerns in the planning process.  We have consistently maintained   that to deliver conservation objectives requires timely and realistic   assessment of the likely   environmental implications of developments, applying the precautionary principle whenever appropriate. At a top tier site we look for standards of governance sufficient to ensure that serious concerns including ones related to species that are known to be globally threatened are taken properly into account.
On the final day of the case the court discussed the possibility of a future hearing to deal with some matters that may require to be resolved depending on the findings of the Court.
In what can be viewed as a David and Goliath struggle we have been deeply heartened by the breadth of public support that we continue to receive. Without the generosity of literally hundreds of people and a number of organisations we would have been unable to take our case to court.
Needless to say BSCG and our co appellants consider our grievances amply merit the intense high level legal scrutiny to which they have now been subjected.  We now hope the judgement when it comes will deliver positively for the environment conservation and the future of   the Cairngorms area that is deservedly so special and dear to the hearts of so many.

Following four days in the Court of Session in Edinburgh It is likely to be some months before we can expect the judgement of Lord Glennie in the case challenging the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) over the 2010 local Plan for the National Park. The case challengess a number of allocations in the local plan adopted by the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA). The grounds  include that the CNPA failed to take reasonable account of damaging environmental impacts, in spite of legal obligations including the founding legislation for National Parks in Scotland. The case was brought by BSCG jointly with the fellow environmental groups the Cairngorms Campaign and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks. All parties appeared grateful that the judge allowed extra time on the last day avoiding the delays and added expense of extending the proceedings to a later date.    

Sir Crispin Agnew QC pesented the case for BSCG and our co appellants. Douglas Armstrong QC presented the response for the Cairngorms National Parks Authority. The Convener for the National Park Authority described   the CNPA as defending the case “robustly”.  James Findlay QC represented  three further respondents  ( developers and landowning interests)  each involved with sites where housing  allocation in the local plan could be quashed by the court.

One outcome we are hoping for is that   allocations for new built development will be quashed. The allocations raised in the case are at Nethybridge, Carrbridge, Kingussie and An Camas Mor.   The largest of these is the An Camas Mor 1500 house new town proposal in the Cairngorms National Scenic Area across the River Spey from Aviemore.

Another outcome of the judgement could  be to clarify important matters of legal principle of general  public interest;  such as giving timely and due weight to environmental concerns in the planning process.  We have consistently maintained   that to deliver conservation objectives requires timely and realistic   assessment of the likely   environmental implications of developments, applying the precautionary principle whenever appropriate. At a top tier site we look for standards of governance sufficient to ensure that serious concerns including ones related to species that are known to be globally threatened are taken properly into account.

On the final day of the case the court discussed the possibility of a future hearing to deal with some matters that may require to be resolved depending on the findings of the Court.

In what can be viewed as a David and Goliath struggle we have been deeply heartened by the breadth of public support that we continue to receive. Without the generosity of literally hundreds of people and a number of organisations we would have been unable to take our case to court.

Needless to say BSCG and our co appellants consider our grievances amply merit the intense high level legal scrutiny to which they have now been subjected.  We now hope the judgement when it comes will deliver positively for the environment conservation and the future of   the Cairngorms area that is deservedly so special and dear to the hearts of so many.

BSCG has joined with the Cairngorms Campaign and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks in a legal challenge to the Cairngorms National Park Local Plan, because of the allocations for excessive number of housing developments within it. We consider that these developments would cause unacceptable damage to the national park and are contrary to the first aim of the park, namely to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area.
Legal action is serious and expensive: we need to raise £50,000 to cover the cost of the court hearing, which is scheduled for January 2012. Please read our appeal leaflet here:[attached .pdf '111001 FINAL Legal Challenge ... etc]. All donations are most gratefully received and can be made as detailed in the appeal leaflet, or by clicking the 'Donate' button to the right.
The two Scottish Government Reporters' Report of the Local Plan Inquiry, mentioned in the appeal leaflet, can be found here: [attached .pdf '091216 Reporters' Report CNPA Paper. 1466']

An Camas Mòr

BSCG has joined with the Cairngorms Campaign and the Scottish Campaign for National Parks in a legal challenge to the Cairngorms National Park Local Plan, because of the allocations for excessive number of housing developments within it. We consider that these developments would cause unacceptable damage to the national park and are contrary to the first aim of the park, namely to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area. 

Legal action is serious and expensive: we need to raise £50,000 to cover the cost of the court hearing, which is scheduled for January 2012. Please read our appeal leaflet. All donations are most gratefully received and can be made as detailed in the appeal leaflet, or by clicking the 'Donate' button to the right. 

The two Scottish Government Reporters' Report of the Local Plan Inquiry, mentioned in the appeal leaflet, can be found here: 091216 Reporters' Report CNPA Paper. 1466.

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