Welcome to the August 2020 edition
Scotland Needs a Green Recovery
Many people across the environmental movement are arguing that all government proposals for recovery from the pandemic should also help to tackle the climate emergency and the nature crisis. Scottish Environment LINK is co-ordinating work on this and APRS is represented on its Green Recovery Group by our Vice-Chair Rebecca Hughes. Here is a briefing for MSPs which summarises some of the Group’s thinking.
Manifesto 2021 Proposals
We’ve prepared our proposals for what we’d like to see in the political party manifestos for the 2021 Scottish Parliament elections. We have submitted them to the five parties currently represented at Holyrood and have already commenced discussion with some of them. The three papers can all be read on our website and cover Green Belts, National Parks and the Circular Economy.
Photo of Scottish Parliament building
Leading the Way – Protected Landscapes and Rural Recovery
National Parks and our other protected landscapes have built up expertise over the years in healthy outdoor recreation and sustainable economic and social development. They are therefore ideally placed to lead the recovery of rural Scotland following the coronavirus epidemic. Also, new National Parks would provide exactly the type of stimulus needed to lead remote rural areas out of the current crisis towards future prosperity. Please read APRS Director John Mayhew’s recent blog on this subject.
Photo of rope bridge – courtesy of Colin Tennant
Keep Potterton Green
In recent weeks we’ve been offering advice and support to a lively local group called Keep Potterton Green, who are campaigning to have proposed housing sites in the valued Green Belt around their village removed from the proposed Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan. Taken together the proposed sites would increase the size of the village by 50%. You can read all about their activities on their Facebook group or their website and in this recent article in the Press and Journal.
Scottish Government Planning
We’re beginning to think that the Scottish Government might actually be starting to listen to our advice on planning issues! In March we wrote to the Chief Planner asking him to call in any proposals for Spaceports, and in May the SG directed Highland Council to notify it if it intended to grant planning permission for the proposed Space Hub Sutherland – which it now has. Then on 10 July we wrote to the Chief Planner raising concerns about recent cases of housing development on unallocated Green Belt sites, calling for the Scottish Planning Policy loopholes responsible for this to be closed, and only seven days later the SG issued a consultation on precisely this issue!
20th Anniversary of the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2020
On 5 July we issued a press release to mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000, including quotes from the four opposition parties, from our project partners the Scottish Campaign for National Parks and from APRS. This generated coverage in several media outlets including the Courier, Herald on Sunday, Press & Journal, Sunday Post and STV.
National Planning Framework 4 Delay
The National Planning Framework is Scotland’s national spatial strategy, which sets the overall framework for how and where Scotland will change over the next ten years and specifies a series of National Developments to support that process. In January the Scottish Government issued an initial Call for Ideas for the forthcoming NPF4. The APRS submission to this covered Green Belts, National Parks, National Scenic Areas and integration with the Land Use Strategy. The separate APRS Green Belts Alliance submission included more detailed proposals regarding Green Belts. The Scottish Government recently announced that due to coronavirus publication of NPF4 has been delayed to Autumn 2021, although it expects to issue an interim statement in Autumn this year.
Members’ Day Cancellation
We have reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s Members’ Day, which was planned to take place on Saturday 12 September at RSPB Scotland’s Loch Leven Nature Reserve visitor centre. Such large indoor gatherings are not yet permitted under current Scottish Government restrictions, and it is not possible to tell when these might be lifted, so we felt that we should give members fair notice of this decision. We hope to return to Kinross-shire next year.
John Foster CBE 1920-2020
We are sad to report that our former Vice-President John Foster passed away on 6 July, just a month short of his 100th birthday. Amongst many other achievements he was the first Director of the Peak District National Park in the 1950s, the first Director of the Countryside Commission for Scotland in the 1960s and APRS Vice-President from 2002 to 2018. He was kind and generous as well as hugely experienced and knowledgeable, and was widely held in high regard. We will pay fuller tribute to him in the next APRS newsletter.
Patricia Macdonald – New APRS President
Our new President Patricia Macdonald took up her post at our online AGM in May. Pat is an environmental and cultural landscape researcher, writer and academic and an award-winning artist-photographer. Her environmental aerial imagery is widely commissioned, exhibited and published. She has authored or co-authored more than ten books and her work is widely discussed in other publications. She has considerable experience in the museum, gallery and natural heritage sectors, both as a staff member and at board level. We’d like to express our warm thanks to outgoing President Colin Prior for his six years of service to and support for APRS.
Judy Crabb and John Esslemont – New APRS Trustees
We’d like to welcome the two new Trustees who were appointed at the AGM: Judy Crabb and John Esslemont. You can find out more about them on the People page of our website. We’d like to thank outgoing Trustees Mike Gascoigne and Karol Swanson for all their hard work on our behalf over the last six years, and we’re delighted that they are both staying on as Members of our advisory Council.