We have asked our candidates for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey for statements on the environment prior to our Environmental Hustings on Friday 3rd April 7pm in Aviemore. This is the first reply, which is from Edward Mountain, Scottish Conservative:

"As a farmer and rural surveyor I have a very keen interest in how we use our environment. Prior to the meeting I would like to highlight just two local issuses:

The Spey is a hugely important asset that all those within the Strath rely on. It not only provides our household needs but it also provides water for the distilleries and agriculture and it is also a recreational resource. We should also not ignore the fact it is home to many iconic species including salmon, pearl water mussels, otters, kingfishers to name but a few. However the management of this river is conducted in a piecemeal way, by at least three different agencies, that has resulted in the habitats and water quality and quantity being diminished.

Our green energy policy in Scotland is deeply flawed. Sadly political posturing has resulted in a policy that often benefits the few but burdens the majority. Basing a policy that relies on wind factories is also deeply hypocritical and damages our landscape. We must review the policy to ensure safety of supply and a balance of provision.

I believe there are many other issues and look forward to discussing these on 3rd April. I look forward to seeing you all there.

Best wishes

Edward Mountain"