- Written by Roy Brown
- Category: Meetings
- Published: 22 May 2017
BSCG invited all the candidates for the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey constituency to prepare a short introductory statement about themselves and the environment to present at the hustings, and which will be displayed on BSCG's website as and when we receive them.
Thanks to Ritchie Cunningham, Liberal Democrat, who has been the first to respond, with the following statement:
Ritchie Cunningham, Liberal Democrat
"Ritchie Cunningham has lived in the Highlands for 31 years, at first in Inverness and for the last 13 years in Nairn. Ritchie has a strong local knowledge and his wide experience makes him an ideal candidate to stand up for the Highlands.
- Education Adviser to Highland Regional Council for 5 years (1986-91)
- Headteacher of Inverness High School for 23 years (1991-2014)
- He has served on the boards of UHI and Inverness College, giving of his time freely to develop education opportunities throughout the Highlands
- Served as an unpaid director on several local charities
- Experience as a teacher, examiner and author
As a trained Geographer Ritchie is well informed on environmental issues and has written extensively on numerous environmental topics in several of his textbooks and other publications."
Thanks to Donald Boyd, Scottish Christian Party, for the following statement:
“Dr Donald Boyd is a 62 y/o, retired medical doctor, married with four adult children and three grandchildren. He is the leader of the Scottish Christian Party and the candidate for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency in the 2017 General Election.
The Scottish Christian Party supports sustainable development and campaigns against built-in obsolescence fuelling consumerism.
The 2017 Scottish Environment LINK Manifesto calls “on all parties to put sustainability and the protection of our natural environment at the heart of their manifestos.” The Scottish Christian Party has always done so. The first paragraph in the first manifesto ever produced by the Scottish Christian Party was about Sustainability:
“Scotland’s natural resources and its historical work ethic are well suited to self-sustainability in the climate of reduced reliance on fossil fuels. Wise stewardship of God-given resources is essential to build a just and prosperous nation. Scotland has great natural advantages that, properly managed, can provide the essential services for civilised life and useful productive employment. The economy should be the servant of the people of Scotland, not their master.
"To achieve self-sustainability waste must be reduced. We will encourage built-in continuity rather than built-in obsolescence. We will seek to improve energy efficiency in our homes and lifestyles. We will also support local supply of food and recreation, power and building materials.” Scottish Christian Party Holyrood Manifesto 2007.
The practicalities of Brexit mean that the Scottish Christian Party supports the default position of incorporating EU standards into UK law, and that subsequent changes should only be implemented through proper debate in a post-Brexit administration.
We see climate change as God’s method of knocking unwilling international heads together, and it presents a global opportunity for international co-operation to replace unsustainable competitiveness, which combined with the sabbatarian theme within Christianity reminds mankind to slow down to a sustainable rate of progress.
Our policies on Energy and the Environment are available on our website at http://www.ukchristianparty.org/energy-and-the-environment.html
- Written by Tessa Jones
- Category: Meetings
- Published: 02 February 2017
Planning Matters in Scotland
Talk by Clare Symonds
Chair of Planning Democracy
Saturday 11 February
Talla na Ros, King St, Kingussie 4-6 pm
All welcome - Admission Free - Refreshments
- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Meetings
- Published: 28 November 2016
Tuesday 29 November at 8.00pm.
Gareth is the Capercaillie Project Officer working for the RSPB in partnership with others, including Scottish Natural Heritage and the Forestry Commission.
More info at: https://www.facebook.com/events/323342631380075/
- Written by Tessa Jones
- Category: Campaigns
- Published: 22 August 2016
BSCG is concerned about inappropriate development at Badaguish - Speyside Trust's outdoor development in the heart of Glenmore forest. The Cairngorms National Park Authority’s poor planning and ineffectual enforcement are causing damage to this prime area of Caledonian forest. Glenmore is one of Scotland's most important forests, yet the CNPA are approving further unnecessary and unsustainable developments within it. Major issues include numerous breaches of planning rules, provision of false information and pervasive haphazard development. The CNPA’s extreme unwillingness to say no to any proposal at Badaguish is resulting in major long term environmental degradation. This is eroding the special qualities of the national Park that the Authority is supposed to be conserving and enhancing.
The latest unanimous approval by the National Park Authority includes permission for a new car park and unsightly portaloos, neither of which are justified. The development will increase traffic on the road through Badaguish on a stretch already shared with cyclists, walkers and horse-riders. The CNPA did not even consider a traffic-free access route. On top of this, the CNPA have never mentioned the fact that new, additional car parking on public ground in Glenmore contravenes their own transport strategy for this core part of the National Park. So why didn’t the Board members simply reject the whole application? Are they under orders not to rock the boat?
As well as approving damaging development, the CNPA have failed to enforce mitigation measures they demanded as conditions for planning consents. For example, tree planting was supposed to mitigate for deforestation and impacts on capercaillie - but it is years late, only half done and much of it is already dead and dying. Meanwhile, the development area is a massive scar on the landscape that is visible from surrounding hills and will be that way for years to come. Furthermore, the predicted ‘likely significant impacts’ on one of Scotland’s most endangered birds, the Capercaillie, is effectively unmitigated by this failed planting.
The other main component of mitigation for capercaillie was the provision of signs asking people to stick to tracks, but these signs were never erected and for the best part of a year the CNPA didn’t enforce compliance. It was only on the day before the CNPA’s decisive meeting (19 August 2016), just hours after BSCG informed the Board of the absent signs, that these miraculously appeared (albeit with a typo).
Of even greater concern, the CNPA mislead the public and the Board by claiming a ‘Masterplan’ for developments at Badaguish existed. Such plans are a vital part of good planning and should prevent the type of chaotic development that plagues Badaguish. On three occasions the CNPA have claimed the existence of such a plan: in writing to BSCG, at the July planning committee meeting, and in documents for the decision meeting in August. The day before the August meeting, BSCG informed the Board that the ‘Masterplan’ that the CNPA planners were claiming existed contravened the standards for a Masterplan set by the Scottish Government’s guidance. Consequently, the CNPA planners had the embarrassing task of explaining that the document they had labelled as ‘Appendix 4 Masterplan’ was not actually a Masterplan ‘in the true sense of the word’. Only days before, the CNPA planner emailed BSCG stating that not only this document, but also 2 others, all constituted Masterplans for this site.
Scottish Government guidance on Masterplanning emphasises the importance of public involvement in Masterplanning. The document the planners tried to pass off as a Masterplan was made public only a week before the meeting and is called ‘Site Layout Plan January 2016’.
The record of the CNPA at Badaguish is worrying. They are approving haphazard and chaotic development, failing to enforce their own mitigation requirements, and attempting to mislead the public and the Board.
- Written by Roy Turnbull
- Category: Debates
- Published: 13 April 2016
On Monday, April 4, The Scotsman published an article giving the sporting estates' defence of muirburn - the burning of heather during grouse moor management.
On Friday, you published the results of research from Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities, indicating that adopting the latest "sustainable land use practices" would allow the locking away, or sequestration, of huge quantities of greenhouse gases in "farmland and natural wild spaces".
Thus we witness a nineteenth century indulgence confronted by twenty first century reality.
Recent muirburn next to woodland in the Cairngorms National Park, Spring 2016.
Grouse moors and deer stalking estates have this in common: they both minimise carbon sequestration.
Burning of grouse moors and over-grazing of stalking estates prevents woodland regeneration and devastates ground vegetation, whilst compacting soils and reducing their carbon retention capacities. These systems are the very opposite of "sustainable land use practices" if that sustainability has any reference to the aspirations of the recent Paris summit on climate change, to which our governments are committed.
The questions arise: How long, in a world divesting its money from fossil fuels and increasingly desperate about global warming, can these anachronistic and damaging land-uses prevail? When will the monetary value of sporting estates begin to plummet? How long will it take before the Scottish Government faces up to this reality and provides scientifically appropriate legislation to govern the demise and transition of Scotland's sporting estates?
Nethy Bridge, Inverness-shire