Recent Wild Fires Highlight Need for Action
Like everyone else in our community, I have watched in horror at the wildfires breaking out across the constituency. Hoping for rain and the safety of the firefighters and families who were forced to leave their homes and feeling utterly helpless.
Also, like you, I know there is no easy or single answer to protect our woodlands from these potentially catastrophic disasters, but I do know we need to find one. The Land Reform Bill and Outdoor Access Code afford people the right to enjoy our land, which is an important right afforded to us all –most of whom are responsible.
Yet, it also allows our woodlands to be abused and lives put in danger by some irresponsible campers or visitors. The events of the past week aren’t isolated, it’s an almost daily occurrence at places like Loch Morlich. And just because the answer is hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to find one.
We need a workable solution to protect our land from fires that could have been prevented and from the disrespectful behaviours that have become all too commonplace; woodlands strewn with rubbish and faeces.
We want to protect our land for the people who live and work here, for our planet and for the people who come and enjoy our beautiful part of the world.
Today, I’ve written to the key stakeholders to urge that we work together to find solutions, including the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero and Just Transition, Local Councillors, the Highland Council, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland.
But this conversation needs to be broader and deeper – it needs to be community-led.
Therefore, in addition to working closely with groups like the Aviemore and Glenmore Community Trust, I am inviting you all to share your suggestions and concerns with me, and I will bring these views together into a shared community report. Whether it’s through local meetings, emails, or policy action, we know that change is needed, and for that to happen, we need to act.