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Members of the Scottish Parliament held a members debate on Thursday, 14th February for World Heritage Site Designation for the Cairngorms. Cairngorms Campaign Officer, Bill Wright, warned that stronger planning powers than those proposed for the National Park are required if the area is to meet the qualifications for being awarded the international accolade.

Stuart RaeIt has emerged that back in March 1991, the World Conservation Union IUCN, (who act as technical advisors to the World Heritage Bureau) wrote to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Scotland warning them of the conditions that would have to be met if the area was to achieve World Heritage status. In their letter to the then Prime Minister John Major, IUCN advised that to meet the requirements for full World Heritage listing there was:- the need to secure an internationally accepted legal framework for the integrated planning, management and protection of key areas in Scotland such as the Cairngorms aimed at ensuring their long term conservation and enhancement. Welcoming Elaine Thomson MSP's submission of the Members Motion, the Cairngorms Campaign Campaign Officer responded:- Elaine Thomson and other MSP's who have supported this motion are to be congratulated.

Stuart RaeDuring International Year of the Mountains, it is very timely given the global standing of the Cairngorms area. It is also particularly relevant to raise this at a time when the powers and extent of the proposed Cairngorms National Park are being considered by the Scottish Executive. It is clear from the IUCN advice that the extensive boundary that is being proposed for the National Park would meet the designation conditions but that the limited planning powers being proposed by Scottish Natural Heritage would certainly not meet the World Heritage criteria for listing of such areas.

The Motion that was debated read:That the Parliament congratulates the United Nations on its co-ordination of the International Year of Mountains; believes that an appropriate way to celebrate the year would be to ensure that the Cairngorm Mountain Range, the largest continuous area of high ground above 1,000 metres in Britain, is designated a World Heritage Site, and therefore considers that the Scottish Executive should speedily propose discussions with Her Majesty's Government to achieve the ultimate international acclaim of World Heritage Status for this beautiful and environmentally unique part of our heritage.

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And help us maintain the case for better management and appreciation of the Cairngorms.
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