The agenda for the Cairngorms National Park Authority meeting last Friday (see here) was brief: Chief Exec’s Report, Corporate Performance, Risk and Mountain Hares. While I was not at the meeting and cannot report what was decided, there were some positive signs in the papers.
The paper on Mountain Hares appears to have been in response to to One Kind’s current campaign calling for a ban on hare culls in the National Park- the CNPA has received 450 postcards – and coverage by Raptor Persecution Scotland, the press and Parkswatch (see here) on hare persecution. While the paper is brief and mostly factual – the CNPA has no idea of how many hares are slaughtered in the National Park – the final paragraphs at the end signal a welcome step in the right direction:
While no actions are proposed in the paper, the logic in the report suggests that the CNPA will have to take action in the near future, not just on hares but to protect other species. If the cull of any species needs to be justified on environmental or economic grounds – and remember the Sandford Principle means conservation comes before the CNPA’s other statutory objectives, including sustainable economic development – then besides hare, the CNPA needs to look at all the other species that are killed in the National Park including corvids, raptors and mustelids. Moreover, if there needs to be transparency on the number of hares being killed, but if hares, as the CNPA acknowledges, then why not other creatures? The CNPA could deal with both of these issues by creating byelaws to replace the general license (which allows certain animals to be killed without permission) with specific licenses where culls could be justified on environmental grounds and required landowners to report on species populations as part of this..
Under the Chief Executive’s report there is a very brief paragraph which was given coverage by Raptor Persecution Scotland yesterday (see here):
It was good to see the Board Papers highlighting that limited resources, which result from the imposition of austerity, pose serious constraints on the CNPA’s ability to deliver on their plan let alone undertake new initiatives. Instead of our National Parks pretending like other public authorities they can make austerity work, we need organisations which are open about the impact of cuts and can articulate what they could do – and what differences this would make to visitors, residents and wildlife – if they had the money. The CNPA appears to be more open about this than the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority which continues to present itself as perfect in every respect (but then maybe that’s because it has too much money, as demonstrated by the large resources wasted on trying to implement the camping byelaws).
Nature conservation targets
An insight into the political challenge