The assessment also wrongly claims “There is evidence of erosion on the new path which occurred during the late December 2015 storms.” The track – its not a path, another piece of misinformation – has eroded several times already. So, who told the ecology adviser this only happened once back in December? The hill track is too steep but the ecology adviser, like the landscape adviser, appears unaware of the SNH guidance on hill track construction.
What needs to happen to ascertain the extent of the damage and its impact on Cairngorm
The argument that the CNPA should require Natural Retreats to pay for an independent ecological and landscape assessment is even stronger now that the National Park has shown it is incapable of doing this properly. Such an assessment should detail ALL the damage that has been caused at Cairngorm – not just the areas granted planning permission – and the options for restoration of the ground and vegetation.
Any proper assessment should be informed by the guidance contained in the following documents:
- The past vegetation surveys that have taken place at Cairngorm (I asked Highlands and Islands Enterprise for copies of these under FOI but they have told me all surveys since the construction of the funicular are held by Cairngorm Mountain! Why didn’t the CNPA landscape adviser ask for a copy?)
- SNH’s Guidance on the construction of hill tracks
- “Environmental design and management of ski areas in Scotland: a practical handbook”