In April 2010 the lIberal Democrats pledged to put protecting the environment at the heart of government Nick Clegg said then the next government will be the last that is able to stop "dangerous" climate change.

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Nick Clegg in Strathspey on 20 January 2011.

In his maiden speech on 19 May 2005  in Westminster  Danny Alexander said "the current reality of climate change are all too apparent to my constituents, not least because they are highly visible through the fortunes of the Scottish ski industry".

Danny Alexander also used his maiden speech to say: "Clearly, the need to develop the tourist industry further must be accommodated in such a way that it does not at the same time undermine the natural features that attract the visitors in the first place. We must not kill the goose that lays the golden egg".

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Danny Alexander in Boat of Garten Village Hall 20 January 2011.

Roadsense who are challenging the legality of road building decisions in Aberdeen  have been granted a Protective Expense Order of £40,000.

See BBC News: Road Sense wins Aberdeen bypass legal cost victory, the Court of Session opinion and the  Road Sense Press release.

Legal challenge lodged to Scots national park local plan, 13 January 2011 (free registration required)
The plan supports the building of 1,900 new homes in the Cairngorms National Park, including up to 1,500 in a new community at An Camas Mor near Aviemore, and was adopted in November. But the Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP), the Cairngorms Campaign and Strathspey Conservation Group ...

Threat to 1,500 new homes scheme
Press and Journal, 12 January 2011
Environmentalists launch major legal challenge to controversial cairngorms proposals.

Park plan faces legal challenge (PDF link)
Strathspey and Badenoch Herald, 12 January 2011
A LEGAL challenge has been mounted in Scotland's highest civil court against the first Local Plan for a Scottish national park.

Legal challenge to Cairngorms housing plans
Walk Highlands, 12 January 2011
Plans for massive new housing inside the Cairngorms national park could be sunk by legal action being brought by three Scottish based environment groups in the Court of Session.

Legal challenge to Cairngorms national park local plan
glasgowwired, 11 January 2011
Environmentalists have launched a legal challenge to housing developments planned for sites in the Cairngorms National Park.

Legal challenge to Cairngorms national park local plan
BBC News, 11 January 2011
Environmentalists have launched a legal challenge to housing developments planned for sites in the Cairngorms National Park...

BSCG and others have serious  concerns about the controversial first Local Plan for the Cairngorms National Park . Last October the then minister for planning indicated he considered judgement on the Cairngorms National Park Local Plan contravening the law to be a matter for the courts to decide.

See: Joint letter to Cabinet Secretary regarding Cairngorms National Park Local Plan

And: Stewart Stevenson response on 12-10-2010

A letter published in The Scotsman of 10 January concerning the decision by the CNPA not to follow the advise of planners on the Davall application in woodland at Boat of Garten.

The failure of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) to refuse planning permission for circa 70 houses in a native pinewood important for capercaillie and red squirrels at Boat of Garten (your report, 8 January) should cause concern to all who cherish the wildlife and scenery of the Cairngorms National Park.

There are three aspects to this lamentable decision. Firstly, despite clear strong advice from the CNPA planners, officials and natural heritage staff, a majority of the board members chose to ignore several of the policies in their own recently-adopted local plan, and the first aim of the national park, as well as previous decisions of Scottish Government reporters.

Secondly, the excuse for this failure was (not for the first time) poor quality advice from Scottish Natural Heritage concerning capercaillie, which suggested, in the face of reason, that it might be possible to reduce to an acceptable level the recreational disturbance caused by building a housing estate in the wood.

Thirdly, this pinewood is owned by the huge Seafield Estate, which has refused meantime to consider releasing land elsewhere that could provide the relatively small number of dwellings to satisfy local demand.

I had hoped that the days of small communities being blackmailed into maximising the profits of large landowners and large developers, by being forced to accept far larger developments than needed, would have passed with the formation of the National Park. In contrast, the CNPA appears to have acceded to the wishes of landowners and developers at the expense of natural heritage and communities, and the disastrous consequences of such negligence of its statutory duties are now beginning to be revealed.


Nethy Bridge

BSCG deplores the narrow  decision by the CNPA board not to refuse the controversial major development in Boat of Garten Wood.

Following the discussions at Boat, RSPB Scotland spokesman Alan Tissiman said: “The capercaillie is an iconic Scottish bird whose population is extremely fragile. We believe that there may be little more than a thousand of these wonderful birds left in Scotland. Strathspey is the last remaining stronghold of the capercaillie and we have a responsibility to ensure that nothing is done that further threatens this endangered species.”

Sharing this view BSCG considers that we cannot afford to be complacent about the future of the capercaillie in Scotland. While any part of the Boat of Garten woodland remains within the settlement boundary the CNPA is failing this magnificent bird that it is well recognized is  extremely vulnerable to disturbance.

See CNPA Press Release: Housing development for Boat of Garten deferred - 7th January 2011