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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Time Running Out to Respond to Consultation on Recreational Fire Management Byelaws

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There is just under one week left to get involved in the Cairngorms National Park Authority’s consultation on the possible introduction of recreational fire management byelaws.

The 10-week consultation has received more than 1,000 responses since it began on 8 February, with the high level of engagement being welcomed by officers at the Park Authority.

“It is great to see so many people getting involved in the recreational fire management byelaws consultation”, said Colin Simpson, Head of Visitor Services and Active Travel at the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

“As an organisation, we are not putting forward a preferred option as part of this process – we want to hear what residents, land managers and visitors have to say first.

“We know there is no single approach that will take away all of the risk, but looking at all the options and gathering people’s views is a very important first step in the process.”

The Park Authority is carrying out the consultation after its board agreed last year to consider the options for minimising the risks of wildfires starting, in a bid to reduce the risk to people, nature and property in the National Park.

Wildfire risk is increasing in Scotland and climate modelling shows a predicted increase in drought periods.

The Cairngorms National Park is home to 25% of the UK’s rare and endangered species and around half of Scotland’s ancient pinewoods.

It is also home to 18,000 people and around two million people visit the area each year.

The consultation sets out three potential options for respondents to give their views on.

These are:

  • No byelaws to be introduced and instead build on the current approach, investing in education and communications to raise awareness of the risks of fires in the National Park.
  • A byelaw which would ban recreational fires but only at times of high fire risk, with certain exemptions such as private gardens.
  • A year-round fire management byelaw which would restrict recreational fires with certain exceptions, 12 months of the year.

The public are also asked if there are any other proposals they think would be appropriate with the Park Authority making clear that it is not putting forward a preferred option as part of this process.

The consultation closes on Wednesday 17 April 2024.

Responses will be considered by the Park Authority board in June and, if a fire byelaw is agreed to be the way forward, they are likely to be implemented in the summer of 2025.

For more information or to make your views known, please visit the Cairngorms National Park website: cairngorms.co.uk/fires

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