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Cairngorms handed £10.7m Lottery boost in bid to become UK’s first net zero national park

The Cairngorms has received a £10.7m funding boost as part of plans to transform it into the UK's first net zero national park.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded the cash to Cairngorms National Park Authority to help deliver its Cairngorms 2030 action plan.

The five-year initiative - seeking to tackle the nature and climate crisis - brings together 20 long-term projects and could reach up to £42.3m in costs.

The programme's goals include:
• To become the first national park in the UK to reach net zero.
• Create the equivalent of 1,500 football pitches of new woodland.
• Develop the world's first outdoor dementia resource centre.
• Transform the way people get around the Cairngorms.
• Pioneer nature-friendly farming and green finance.
• Foster meaningful relationships with under-represented communities.
• Restore 6,500 hectares of carbon-storing peatland.
• Prescribe nature on the NHS.
• Empower communities to shape the future of their area.
• Restore and enhance three iconic rivers - the Spey, Dee and Esk.

The Cairngorms - which covers parts of Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Angus and Perth and Kinross - is the largest national park in the UK.

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The funding was announced as First Minister Humza Yousaf visited the area on Monday along with Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater, minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity.

He said: "The Cairngorms 2030 project is an excellent example of over 70 partners working together to deliver benefits for rural communities, businesses and the natural environment.

"Our national parks create new employment opportunities and promote green skills and jobs. They also help to generate and channel investment into the area's natural resources.

"Investing in protecting and enhancing Scotland's precious environment creates great opportunities that will benefit people and communities throughout the country, particularly in rural areas."

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Sandy Bremner, convener of Cairngorms National Park Authority, said they were "delighted" to receive the lottery funding.

He added: "This five-year, £42.3m initiative will put the power to tackle the nature and climate crisis in the hands of the people in the park.

"It will benefit people's health and wellbeing, develop sustainable transport solutions and help nature - and we are ready to get going on delivering for all those who live, work and visit this very special place."