The Cairngorms National Park is an iconic landscape, home to over 18,000 people and visited by 1.92 million people every year.

It is the duty of the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA), along with many others, to look after and enhance this special place for the people of Scotland.

Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA)

The CNPA aims to provide leadership for the Cairngorms National Park and to tackle the big issues in the Park in a collaborative way based on the founding National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000. The vision, mission and values are important statements of what the organisation wants to achieve and how we will go about achieving it.

Cairngorms National Park Vision

An outstanding National Park, enjoyed and valued by everyone, where people and nature thrive together.

CNPA Mission

To lead the way in delivering for the Cairngorms National Park by bringing people together toward a common purpose; enhancing the Park for everyone; inspiring new generations to be Park champions.

CNPA Values

The CNPA is an open, inclusive, innovative and professional organisation, that behaves with integrity. The CNPA will also operate in an environmentally friendly way that provides leadership in this area.


... to be the best small public body in Scotland.


Grant Moir, Chief Executive, CNPA

  • Bringing partners together to deliver conservation at a landscape scale
  • Ensuring the quality of visitor experience matches the quality of environment by coordinating investment in the core infrastructure
  • Ensuring people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities are able to experience and enjoy the National Park
  • Promoting investment in a diversified economy
  • Helping communities plan and achieve their own visions
  • Delivering a Planning Service to guide the right development to the right place
  • Delivering effective, efficient and sustainable services
  • Promoting the highest standards of governance to support delivery of the Corporate Plan and the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan
  • Raise the profile of the Park
  • Create connection and commitment to care for the Park

The CNPA Corporate Plan 2018-2022 sets out how the Park Authority will allocate its resources and explains how it will help to deliver, with its partners, the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan and the Scottish Government’s Strategic Objectives.

Delivering for Scotland

We are committed to delivering the Scottish Government's central purpose.

To focus on creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing and sustainable and inclusive economic growth ...

10 of our 16 Key Performance Indicators are on track or completed ...

Our work contributes to achieving six of the eleven national outcomes for Scotland. We have established a suite of 16 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure our success in making a valuable contribution to these outcomes.

At the end of year one of our four year Corporate Plan, 10 of 16 KPIs are assessed as on track or complete towards delivering our ambitions, while only 1 of the 16 KPIs is assessed as at significant risk of not being delivered by 2022.

The Park Authority will continue its focus on delivery of its objectives, taking additional action where needed in areas not achieving target levels of performance.

Improving Efficiency and Delivering Best Value

Continuing to deliver Best Value through our actions and service provision, and to improve efficiency, effectiveness and economy in delivering our functions ...

We've achieved our target of 3% efficiency savings over the year, and are reducing the organisational carbon emissions ahead of our target schedule. Improving our service provision is ongoing, and we seek to learn and enhance how we work from the feedback we receive.

Our Aims and Priorities

The National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 sets out four aims:

  • To conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area
  • To promote the sustainable use of the natural resources of the area
  • To promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public
  • To promote sustainable social and economic development of the communities of the area

We deliver against these aims through our three priority outcomes.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority is responsible for delivering a diverse range of services, from managing planning and development, administering grant schemes and developing vibrant rural communities to conserving and managing priority species, outreach education and visitor information and management.


Raptor Trackers

Raptor conservation, tackling wildlife crime and, ultimately, eliminating illegal persecution of all raptors, is one of the key aims of the Cairngorms Nature Action Plan 2019-2023

And the Cairngorms National Park Authority has been working over the last two years with Scottish Natural Heritage, and latterly the British Trust for Ornithology, to develop an innovative type of satellite tag, which will provide key information on the movements and behaviour of golden eagles.

It has been designed to provide a boost to understanding raptor movements and behaviour, as well as help understand the fate of birds which die in the Cairngorms National Park, and more widely across Scotland.

The new ‘Raptor Tracker’ tags will be placed on golden eagle chicks before they fledge during the summer of 2020 for an 18 month trial. And, if successful, will result in further birds being tagged and hopefully the adaptation of the technology to allow similar tagging of hen harriers and other species.

This new tag uses the Iridium network (Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation) and ensures that signal information is always available. Crucially, it has been developed with multiple sensors; these immediately send a ‘distress’ signal, with an exact location, back to base if unusual behaviour is detected. This early warning system has the added benefit of helping to rapidly identify and recover birds which have died.

This new tag is a significant step forward in using technology to research further the intriguing ranging behaviour of golden eagles, and have the potential to reveal new aspects of the species’ behaviour, providing fascinating insights into their lives.

This is great news for improving our understanding of eagle behaviours, and in the fight against wildlife crime. The tags should make a real difference in deterring would-be criminals, as well as playing a key role in establishing exactly what happened, should any of these magnificent birds of prey disappear or die in unusual circumstances.”

Roseanna Cunningham, Environment Secretary


Delivering the best possible visitor experience is very important to ensure that the tourism sector continues to contribute to the economy of the Cairngorms National Park, and this starts with making sure that visitors have the information they need to make the most of their time here.

And it should now be much easier for visitors to the Cairngorms National Park to do just that, following the establishment of a network of 11 Local Information Centres (LIC).

VisitScotland now manages only two main Visitor Information Centres in the Park - in Aviemore and Ballater - but in addition to these, the Cairngorms National Park Authority has entered into partnerships with information centres in areas where there is no longer VisitScotland visitor information centre provision. Furthermore, in communities where there has never been any provision, the CNPA has worked with community councils to determine the best location for new centres. Locations include Glenshee, Crathie, Tomintoul, Grantown-on-Spey, Dulnain Bridge, Nethy Bridge, Kingussie, Laggan, Blair Atholl, and we are currently working with the community in Braemar.

All the Local Information Centres are receiving training, along with information, branded signage and leaflets about the Park.

We are grateful and proud to partner the Cairngorms National Park Authority and become one of a network of Local Information Centres. It's so essential to maintain a contact point for visitors in our rural areas across the National Park. We're looking forward to working with other LICs to share ideas, information and good practice.

Carolyn, Caberfeidh Horizons, Kingussie

And so that visitors can find the information centres easily, they appear on all CNPA maps of the Park identified by a little white 'i' in a blue circle!


Cairngorms National Park Local Development Plan 2020

Ensuring sufficient land for housing, jobs and services, whilst protecting the environment, is a challenge anywhere, but particularly in a National Park.

The Cairngorms National Park Authority is committed to ensuring that the Cairngorms National Park's communities remain healthy and sustainable. And this means tackling difficult issues for rural areas such as the lack of affordable housing and maintaining jobs and other opportunities,whilst ensuring that any new development conserves and enhances the Park's special qualities, maintaining it as an attractive place for people to live, work and visit.

The next Local Development Plan (LDP) for the Cairngorms National Park - which will ensure that the right amount and type of development is taking place in the right locations - is expected to be adopted in early 2020 following a range of consultation exercises, with the CNPA having started to gather key information in 2015, followed by a Main Issues Report consultation in 2017/18.

In January 2019 the consultation on the Proposed Local Development Plan 2020 got underway for ten weeks, with a high level of engagement from individuals, businesses and organisations. Making the best use of technology, social media and web applications, the CNPA was able to reach and engage with a wide audience. From interactive story boards to fly-through videos and real-time social media updates at consultation events, the public were encouraged to engage with the big issues the next LDP should address and the options available for tackling them, in a simple and informative way.

The availability of affordable housing remains one of the biggest issues and the LDP 2020 should help increase the opportunities to build and support a healthy and growing working age population. The biggest proposed change in planning policy is to increase the proportion of affordable homes in development in areas where there is greatest need from the current 25% to up to 45%.

The Proposed LDP 2020 and all the consultation responses were submitted for examination by an Independent Reporter from the Scottish Government's Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals, in September 2019.

Cairngorms National Park Authority services

Working with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority

Both the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authorities (NPAs) are responsible for delivering a diverse range of similar services - from managing planning development, administering grant schemes and supporting development of vibrant rural communities, to conserving and managing priority species, outreach education and visitor information and management. While there are differences of landscape, visitor impact and special qualities which distinguish each Park, both NPAs are charged with achieving many common outcomes, and we work closely together when it's appropriate to do so.

Our collective delivery with the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland of over £6 million investment in improvements to iconic mountain paths, volunteering, training and conservation work within the Mountains and the People project completed its fourth year of activity with 35.5km of paths in the Cairngorms built or improved.

We also collaborate closely on delivery of Information Technology and Human Resources services, helping ensure our services are robust, efficient and effective.

Planning highlights

The development of affordable housing in the Park was an important focus in 2018/19. Consents for 108 affordable units were issued by the CNPA planning committee, which included 26 affordable units in Ballater and eight in Blair Atholl. In addition, work started on a number of key sites and progress on consents issued in 2017/18, in Grantown-on-Spey, Aviemore, Rothiemurchus and Inverdruie.

87% of planning applications were approved, including the development of accommodation and visitor and community facilities at the Spittal of Glenshee, a hydro scheme on the River Muick on Balmoral Estate and the new community hospital in Aviemore. Processing agreements continued to be offered on all planning applications and uptake increased slightly to 93%.

A public consultation on the proposed Local Development Plan 2020 ended in April 2019. Designed to be as user friendly and accessible as possible, the consultation made extensive use of our website and social media, videos - including innovative fly-over videos of each settlement - and infograms were produced, the proposed plan was available to view in an interactive story map format, drop-in sessions were held throughout the Park, and officers attended a range of meetings with partners and local communities.

Enforcement of planning controls is an important part of the planning system but can be complex. We've made several improvements to help explain how the planning enforcement process works and making it more user friendly. These include reviewing and updating our Planning and Enforcement Charter, adding additional information to the Planning Enforcement Register and the publication of an online reporting tool to enable members of the public to easily report planning breaches, particularly in relation to unauthorised hill track works.

Good design is a partnership between well-informed clients and customers, good architects/designers and skilled builders and contractors.

An innovative seminar on sustainable renovation was hosted in partnership with Scottish Land & Estates and The Pebble Trust in Spring 2019. And we've designed and published an interactive map which showcases examples of well designed buildings and development across the Park.

To ensure we continue to provide an efficient and effective planning service to our customers, we undertook a customer satisfaction survey throughout the year and the feedback from this will be used to identify areas where we can make further improvements and build on progress made in previous year.

Gaelic update

Tha dealas againn do leasachadh na Gàidhlig agus meudachadh mhothachaidh is chleachdaidh
We are committed to developing the Gaelic language and increasing awareness and its usage

Our Gaelic Language Plan

In 2018, Bòrd na Gàidhlig approved the Cairngorms National Park Authority Gaelic Language Plan 2018-2022.

The Plan sets out how we'll:

  • use Gaelic in the operation of our functions
  • enable the uses of Gaelic when communicating with the public and key partners
  • promote and develop Gaelic

Highlights include:

  • new building extension bilingual signage review
  • creation of a Gaelic version of the Park brand
  • online guidance and advice re using Gaelic as an Asset
  • promote Gaelic experiences with residents & visitors
  • joint Gaelic Awareness schools project with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority
  • Gaelic Awareness and conversational staff training plus induction training for rangers/volunteer rangers
  • annual Gaelic Awareness month
  • recruitment policy – stronger profile to promote our support for Gaelic speakers to join the organisation
  • Gaelic Student Intern – research project on Gaelic as an Asset online toolkit

Tha am Plana a’ mìneachadh ciamar a bhios sinn:

  • A’ cleachdadh a’ Ghàidhlig ann an obrachadh againn
  • A’ cleachdadh a’ Ghàidhlig ann an conaltradh againn leis a’ phoblach is com-pàirtichean sònraichte
  • A’ brosnachadh agus a’ leasachadh a’ Ghàidhlig

Seo na puingean as cudromaiche ann am Plana ùr againn, ri dhèanamh mus an t-Ògmhìos 2022:

  • sgrùdadh soidhnichean dà-chànanach calpa thogalaich ùr
  • dealbhachadh suaichneas Gàidhlig brannd na Pàirce
  • iùl air-loidhne agus comhairle airson cleachdadh Gàidhlig mar So-Mhaoin
  • brosnachadh fiosrachadh is eòlas na Gàidhlig am measg luchd-tadhail & luchd-còmhnaidh
  • pròiseact Mothachadh na Gàidhlig anns na sgoiltean ann am com-pàirteachas le LLTTNPA
  • Mothachadh na Gàidhlig agus trèanadh chànain chonaltrach airson luchd-obrach, agus trèanadh inntrigidh airson maoir-choille is maoir-choille saor-thoileach
  • Mìos Mothachadh na Gàidhlig gach bliadhna
  • poileasaidh thrusaidh – ìomhaigh nas treasa airson misneachd a thoirt do luchd-làbhairt na Gàidhlig ri gabhail anns a’ bhuidheann againn
  • inntearnach Oileanach Gàidhlig – pròiseact rannsachaidh air toolkit “Gàidhlig Mar So-Mhaoin” air loidhne

Gaelic as an Asset Toolkit

Gaelic is a unique selling point for businesses and organisations in the Cairngorms National Park

It's estimated that the Gaelic language and culture brings anywhere between £82 million to £149 million to the Scottish economy each year. So to encourage businesses and organisations to tap into this market and create an authentic Gaelic experience for visitors and customers, we've developed an innovative, online Gaelic as an Economic Asset toolkit.

The toolkit shows just how easy it is to create an authentic Gaelic experience and help their visitors and customers gain a little understanding of the Gaelic language and culture. From suggestions for simple greetings and signage, to the meaning and history of Gaelic place names and case studies, the toolkit is designed so that non-Gaelic speakers can easily use it.

And finally ...

In September 2018, the Cairngorms National Park and the Park Authority played host to the annual EUROPARC Conference.

We consider this Conference a great success ... the participation numbers were higher than ever ... the agenda took place as scheduled and the enjoyment of the delegates was tangible from the beginning till the end!

EUROPARC Federation

This conference was the biggest gathering of National Parks and protected areas ever held in Europe with world class speakers presenting their views on how to get young people more involved in nature. Delegates also enjoyed a wide selection of workshops and field trips across the Cairngorms National Park as well as social evenings which celebrated Scottish highland food, drink and music.

The highlight of the conference was the launch of the innovative EUROPARC Youth Manifesto ...

With support from LEADER funding, the CNPA has worked with young people in Scotland and Finland to look at how to support and work better together in rural communities and protected areas.

This culminated in some 40 young people, aged 16-25 - from Scotland, England, Wales, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Japan and Italy - coming together at the conference to launch their Youth Manifesto. They shared ways and ideas about how their creativity, imagination and talents can be fostered to help young people develop as the successors to inherit our rural landscapes.

listen to the voices of young people and give us the chance to take the lead

Across Europe, protected areas are now looking at better ways to work with and support young people.

In September 2019 a paper went to the CNPA board to agree ways in which we can permanently improve our engagement with, and involvement of, young people and, in October 2019, the Cairngorms Youth Action Team was launched!

The many and varied field trips proved to be one of the most popular parts of the conference!

Organised by the CNPA and a wide range of local organisations, businesses and partners, delegates enjoyed getting out and about to experience all the Park has to offer - from canoeing on the River Spey to climbing a Munro, from visiting Britain's largest National Nature Reserve at Mar Lodge Estate to whisky tasting at Dalwhinnie Distillery - the highest distillery in the world.

The trips took place on a blowy but beautiful autumn day and gave delegates the opportunity to meet people and hear first hand about the successes and challenges faced by those living, working and playing in Britain's largest National Park.



01479 873535

© Published by Cairngorms National Park Authority, 2019. All rights reserved.

Photo credits: Peter Cairns/2020VISION/CNPA; Dave Craig; Angus Findlay; Lorne Gill/SNH; Mark Hamblin/2020VISION/CNPA; Kenny Lam/VisitScotland/CNPA; Wee Epics