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Caithness News Bulletins January 2003

January 2003 Caithness.org News 2002

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The 13,000 residents, who live within Britain’s largest national park at the Cairngorms, will be asked soon to vote for the five community representatives, who will serve on the 25-strong Park Authority from its inception on 25 March.

Nomination forms are available from Wednesday (15 January) and prospective candidates must return these by 4 pm on Wednesday 5 February. In the event of a contest in the five wards, postal ballot papers will be issued on 20 February with a deadline for return by 4 pm on 13 March. Votes will be counted as soon as practicable after that time.

The Notice of the Election will be published on Wednesday (15 January), when a letter, accompanied by a leaflet explaining the aims and role of the Park Authority, will be arriving on the doormats of the Park residents in Highland, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus.

The park area has been divided into five wards – three in Highland; one in Moray/Aberdeenshire and one in Aberdeenshire/Angus – with one community candidate being elected to represent each area.

Candidates must be 21 years of age or older but need not be resident in the park area. Successful candidates will serve on the Park Authority for four years.

Nominations must be endorsed by a proposer, seconder and four other electors from the electoral ward involved.

Each candidate may provide the Returning Officer – Arthur McCourt, Chief Executive of The Highland Council – with a statement of no more than 250 words, containing details of the candidate and their perspective on matters relating to the Park. Mr McCourt will issue these to each elector when ballot papers are sent out.

The Park Authority will also comprise 10 appointees of the Scottish Executive and 10 local council nominees (five from The Highland Council; three from Aberdeenshire Council; one from Moray Council and one from Angus Council).

At 3,800 kms in size, the Cairngorms National Park will be the most extensive in Great Britain. It will be formally established on 25 March, 2003.

The aims of the Park, which is being funded directly by the Scottish Executive, are to: -

  • Conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area;

  • Promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area;

  • Promote understanding and enjoyment (including the enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public;

  • Promote sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities.

A key early task of the National Park Authority (NPA) will be to prepare and consult on a National Park Plan for the Cairngorms. This will set out the NPA’s policy in relation to the management of the park. It will promote partnership working to develop projects and initiatives, which achieve the National Park aims.

Much of the NPA’s work is likely to be providing leadership and co-ordination of activities so that the management of the Cairngorms take place in an integrated and sustainable way. It will have an important role in influencing rural land use policy and in contributing to national and international policy on National Parks.

There are many aspects of land management that will be relevant to the NPA, including forestry and woodlands; recreation and tourism; nature conservation; water management; agriculture; moorland; access and biodiversity.

Information about the elections can be found on the home page of The Highland Council’s Internet site: www.highland.gov.uk