10.4.12_SW_IMG_8036

Northern or hairy wood ant Formica lugubris in School Wood
Nethybridge. School Wood is on the Ancient Woodland Inventory and is
threatened by inappropriate development.
Northern or hairy wood ant Formica lugubris in School Wood Nethybridge.
School Wood is on the Ancient Woodland Inventory and is threatened by inappropriate development.

Wood ants are one of the most important ecological players in Caledonian pinewood forest and are also found in forest edge and some rich lowland heathland and bog woodland habitats. These 'keystone species' can be viewed as good indicators of the health of some of our most iconic habitats.

narrow-headed-ant-carrbridge
The narrow headed ant has its most northern known UK population  at
Carrbridge where this photo was taken on a threatened site.

In Strathspey we have all the four kinds of wood ants that occur in Scotland, including the largest and most northern known surviving population of the narrow headed ant (Formica exsecta) in the UK. This ant is a UK Red Data Book 1 species. Two of our wood ants, the hairy or northern wood ant and the Scottish wood ant (F. lugubris and F. aquilonia), are on the Scottish Biodiversity List. This list contains species considered by Scottish ministers to be a priority for conservation (for purpose of the Nature Conservation Scotland Act). The blood red slave-maker ant (F. sanguinea) is believed to have declined in recent years in our district and tends to make a less elaborate nest than other wood ants and is easiest to find on sunny days in relatively open habitats.

The shining guest ant (Formicoxenus nitidulus) makes its home in the nests of various wood ants. It is considered to be at the northern limit of its range in the UK in our district, where it is rare. The gallows spider (Dipoena torva) feeds on wood ants. Both these species associated with wood ants are also on the Scottish Biodiversity List. The gallows spider has been found on two sites controlled by developer Tullochs. Both these sites are currently threatened by inappropriate development and are included in the legal challenge taken against the local plan of the Cairngorms National Park Authority. At least two species of wood ant are also found on the threatened An Camas Mor site.

With other organisations that recognize that wood ants need friends BSCG is supporting the wonderful wood ants initiative see:

www.woodants.org.uk
www.facebook.com/pages/Wonderful-Wood-Ants

Planning Democracy campaigns for a fair and inclusive planning system in Scotland.  The charity will hold its conference, 'Planning: The People's Perspective' in Edinburgh on April 21.  Not content with inviting anyone with an interest in, or experience of, land use planning in Scotland to attend, P.D. hopes we will invite our elected representatives to become “keynote listeners” at the event and hear how those who experience the Scottish planning system first hand feel about it.
Clare Symonds, founder of Planning Democracy says of the conference:
“Scotland's planning system is weighted against ordinary people, the very people who will be affected and who should be able to influence it.  It is time to rebalance the system and give people more rights and to make it far more inclusive than it is. This conference intends to show how ordinary people experience the planning system and to gather people together to work together to make it fairer.”
At the conference you will
hear how well the planning system works for ordinary people,
hear Planning Democracy’s views on how to campaign for a more inclusive system
hear other people's views on the planning system
You will have the opportunity to
meet other people and exchange experiences of planning
attend workshops on a variety of issues from access to justice, planning appeals, to making complaints and Freedom of Information
work with Planning Democracy to campaign for change where it is needed.
The conference is affordable (£10) and is held on a Saturday in central Edinburgh, close to the train and bus stations. Refreshments and lunch are included in the price.
Representatives from organisations such as The Information Commission, the Public Services Ombudsman, the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) as well as legal firms and environmental NGO's such as Friends of the Earth  will be attending and providing afternoon workshops.
For more information follow this link.

Planning Democracy campaigns for a fair and inclusive planning system in Scotland.  The charity will hold its conference, 'Planning: The People's Perspective' in Edinburgh on April 21.  Not content with inviting anyone with an interest in, or experience of, land use planning in Scotland to attend, P.D. hopes we will invite our elected representatives to become “keynote listeners” at the event and hear how those who experience the Scottish planning system first hand feel about it.

Clare Symonds, founder of Planning Democracy says of the conference:

“Scotland's planning system is weighted against ordinary people, the very people who will be affected and who should be able to influence it.  It is time to rebalance the system and give people more rights and to make it far more inclusive than it is. This conference intends to show how ordinary people experience the planning system and to gather people together to work together to make it fairer.”

At the conference you will

  • hear how well the planning system works for ordinary people,
  • hear Planning Democracy’s views on how to campaign for a more inclusive system
  • hear other people's views on the planning system

You will have the opportunity to

  • meet other people and exchange experiences of planning
  • attend workshops on a variety of issues from access to justice, planning appeals, to making complaints and Freedom of Information
  • work with Planning Democracy to campaign for change where it is needed.

The conference is affordable (£10) and is held on a Saturday in central Edinburgh, close to the train and bus stations. Refreshments and lunch are included in the price.

Representatives from organisations such as The Information Commission, the Public Services Ombudsman, the Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) as well as legal firms and environmental NGO's such as Friends of the Earth  will be attending and providing afternoon workshops.

For more information follow this link.

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.

Friends of the Earth Scotland are understood to be the first Scottish NGO to intervene in a case at the UK Supreme Court. The organisation took the decision to intervene in a case involving pleural plaque sufferers. This case   provided an opportunity to challenge the restrictive interpretation that courts in Scotland have sometimes placed on 'title and interest', which is the Scots Law test of standing: the right to have your case heard by the court. Despite supporting the involvement of the pleural plaque sufferers, the Scottish Government opposed Friends of the Earth Scotland's intervention.
Significantly the court ruling upheld the right of campaign groups to have cases heard in a Scottish court soley on public interest grounds.
Title and interest' has been an issue in a number of high-profile environmental cases in recent months such as when local resident, Molly Forbes, was deemed not to have 'title and interest' in her judicial review against Donald Trump and Aberdeenshire Council.
In championing access to environmental justice Friends of the Earth Scotland have called on the Scottish government to make it easier for breaches of environmental law and poor decisions to be challenged. Friends of the Earth Scotland is part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups - covering every continent. BSCG welcomes support from Friends of the Earth Scotland for our fight for environmental justice in the Cairngorms National Park.

Access to environmental justice is featured in the 2011  Autumn/ Winter issue of the Friends of the Earth supporters magazine 'What On Earth'

Friends of the Earth Scotland are understood to be the first Scottish NGO to intervene in a case at the UK Supreme Court. The organisation took the decision to intervene in a case involving pleural plaque sufferers. This case   provided an opportunity to challenge the restrictive interpretation that courts in Scotland have sometimes placed on 'title and interest', which is the Scots Law test of standing: the right to have your case heard by the court. Despite supporting the involvement of the pleural plaque sufferers, the Scottish Government opposed Friends of the Earth Scotland's intervention.

Significantly the court ruling upheld the right of campaign groups to have cases heard in a Scottish court soley on public interest grounds.

Title and interest' has been an issue in a number of high-profile environmental cases in recent months such as when local resident, Molly Forbes, was deemed not to have 'title and interest' in her judicial review against Donald Trump and Aberdeenshire Council. 

In championing access to environmental justice Friends of the Earth Scotland have called on the Scottish government to make it easier for breaches of environmental law and poor decisions to be challenged. Friends of the Earth Scotland is part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 77 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups - covering every continent. BSCG welcomes support from Friends of the Earth Scotland for our fight for environmental justice in the Cairngorms National Park.

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.

mary scanlon msp 20110218 1566161829

We urge Highland Ward 21 voters to let  Mary Scanlon  Highland list MSP know the environment is a top concern by completing this short feedback form.

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