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A new ‘community partnership’ has been set up involving Forestry Commission Scotland and community organisations for Glen Affric.
The partnership will focus on improving collaboration and working on joint projects.
Councillor Helen Carmichael, who chaired the most recent meeting of the partnership, said:
“It is great news for Glen Affric that the partnership has been established.
“Everyone who lives and works in the area cares passionately about this place and has their own ideas and suggestions on how best to ensure that Glen Affric - one of Scotland’s most beautiful glens – continues to give everyone who comes here that special, magical experience for which it is world renowned.”
The formation of the partnership follows discussions with the community groups that had voiced concerns over Commission plans to introduce car parking charges.
Graeme Prest, Inverness, Ross & Skye Forest District Manager with Forestry Commission Scotland said:
“Over the last year we have had a number of discussions with community groups to try and resolve concerns around the introduction of parking charges in Glen Affric.
“As a result of those discussions we have significantly revised our plans but accept that we have not fully met all the concerns raised. The partnership will be fully involved in deciding how the money raised is spent.
“We are keen to learn from our experience over the last year and move forward, building good relations with local people. Glen Affric is a really special place and we wish to work with local people to make sure it stays that way and is enjoyed by visitors, supporting local businesses.”
The Commission’s revised plan, accepted by the Partnership, includes:
• Reducing the number of Pay and Display machines from 4 to 2 and siting them at the main visitor car parks where trails and toilets are found (River Affric and Dog Falls);
• No parking charges will be made at the location most used for parking by hill walkers (Chisholm Bridge);
• Introducing improved signage for Glen Affric to explain that the money raised will be re-invested in the Glen; and discussing with local business representatives how to improve marketing of the Glen.
• Annual parking permits will be made available for regular visitors.
• Ring fencing net revenue raised for Glen Affric and agreeing with the community partnership how this is spent
• Reviewing the charging in discussion with the partnership after one year
Notes to Editors
1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment & Forestry Directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.
2. Car parking charges will be £1 (up to an hour), £1.50 (1-3 hours) and £2 (3-12 hours). An annual ticket is also available for £25.
3. For news, events and recreation information log on to
www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests For Twitter: www.twitter.com/fcscotlandnews
4. Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland
5. Media enquiries to Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.