- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Campaigns
- Published: 17 September 2017
Sunday Herald,17 September 2017:
FAR more people oppose building a new town in the Cairngorms National Park than are in favour, according to a new opinion poll.
More than 44 per cent of those questioned said they opposed a plan for 1,500 new houses at An Camas Mòr, near Aviemore. Just under 25 per cent said they supported the idea, and the same proportion said they neither opposed or supported the plan.
The development was granted planning permission in principle by the Cairngorms National Park Authority last month, despite prolonged and fierce opposition from conservation groups. The scheme was initially approved in 2014, but lost a major financial backer.
The Badenoch and Strathspey Conservation Group (BSCG), which opposed An Camas Mòr, commissioned pollsters Survation to assess views on the development. More than 1,000 people across Scotland were interviewed between September 8-12 .
BSCG’s convener, Dr Gus Jones, said he was encouraged by the poll results. “There is considerable opposition to this large-scale development in a national park,” he told the Sunday Herald.
“An Camas Mòr is a controversial and damaging development in a highly prized and sensitive area, and requires large-scale public funding. We hope the results of this poll will encourage the Scottish Government to think again.”
The Cairngorms Campaign argued that supporting the new town went against the will of the Scottish people. The park authority had issued approval “without due regard for the natural and cultural heritage of the area, which should be their first aim,” said the campaign’s Helen Geddes.
Cairngorm park authority’s chief executive, Grant Moir, pointed out that developers still had to conclude a legal agreement. “The applicant has to comply with a suite of conditions and supply a significant amount of detail to the authority’s planning committee on these conditions before any work can begin on An Camas Mòr,” he said.
There are plans to build a new town in an area of the Cairngorms National Park. The area in question is a National Scenic Area and close to designated conservation sites. The new town is proposed to consist of around 1500 houses and would be about the size of the largest existing settlement in the Cairngorms National Park. There are plans to build a new town in an area of the Cairngorms National Park. The area in question is a National Scenic Area and close to designated conservation sites. The new town is proposed to consist of around 1500 houses and would be about the size of the largest existing settlement in the Cairngorms National Park. Supporters of the proposed new town say that the planned community on the site would be ‘appropriate for its outstanding location and delivers much needed new homes and commercial space locally.’ Opponents say that the plans would be over-development that would damage the special landscape and wildlife that the National Park was set up to protect.To what extent do you support or oppose the building of this new town in the Cairngorms National Park?
Strongly support / Somewhat support / Neither support nor oppose / Somewhat oppose / Strongly oppose / Don't know.
- Written by Gus Jones
- Category: Insects
- Published: 30 May 2017
This week is Small Blue Butterfly Week across Scotland, with voluntary action by enthusiasts in Aberdeenshire, Moray, Irvine, Caithness and the borders. About a third of the world’s butterfly species belong to the blue family, that includes the hairstreaks, the Northern Brown Argus and coppers - other small butterflies with striking metallic colours. Many of these frail gems have an intimate relationship with ants. The large blue butterfly became extinct in Britain in 1979 but thanks to a major effort involving taking stock of its dependence on ants, was re-introduced and currently survives precariously in England. To date attempts to reintroduce the large copper, for which the last British record was in 1864, have failed.
A sign in Nairn mentions that the small blue is a size that would fit on a penny.
By contrast with the restricted range of some of the 20 or so blues in Britain, the Small Blue has a distribution that spans from the Caithness coast to the south west of Ireland. Despite this it has been described as "rare in almost every region it inhabits". This is so in the Cairngorms National Park. Here inStrathspey, unlike other parts of Scotland, we can boast having an inland, rather than coastal, population of Small Blue. Vital to the survival of the Small Blue is the foodplant Kidney Vetch, on which the caterpillars entirely depend. This plant with attractive yellow flowers seems to be a favourite for other insects, like bumblebees.
A bumblebee visits kidney vetch at a flower rich site supporting small blue in Strathspey.
During Small Blue Butterfly Week hopes are high that members of the public will spot and report sightings of Small Blue. Good places to look are where the vital food plant kidney vetch is growing in sheltered sunny spots. The 2002 Cairngorms Local Biodiversity Action Plan identifies calcareous, neutral and acid grassland as habitat for the small blue, but unfortunately delivering better conservation in the face of damaging land use change for these grasslands remains somewhat fraught with challenges.
The upper wings of a female small blue here on a flower of bird's foot trefoil in Strathspey are dark in colour.
Those wishing to see Small Blue this week but not having luck in Strathspey could consider a trip to some of the undeveloped dune slacks along the Morayshire coast, in places like Nairn that boasts around 20 butterfly species. If Morayshire is too far, the Landmark Centre at Carrbridge has a butterfly house with many colourful South American butterflies to admire. However, as the blue family is tricky to propagate in captivity it is not one of the butterfly families on show in this new butterfly house.
A male small blue in Strathspey has wings that show some blue scales.
- Written by Roy Brown
- Category: Meetings
- Published: 16 May 2017
*** RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY 1ST JUNE ***
With the suspension of electioneering as a mark of respect for events in Manchester, the BSCG’s hustings event was POSTPONED.
The hustings are now rescheduled for 7.00 - 9.00pm on Thursday 1st of June 2017 at the Badenoch Centre, Spey Street, Kingussie, PH21 1EH. Note change of venue to the Badenoch Centre.
Environment Matters Question Time with the Westminster candidates.
Your chance to question our candidates on any aspect of the environment.
Thursday 1st June 7.00 - 9.00pm.
Badenoch Centre, Spey Street, Kingussie PH21 1EH.
Everybody Welcome, Free. Donations welcome.
Download Revised Hustings Poster.
- 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