The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) has been awarded £10.7m to deliver its ambitious programme that it says will inspire people and communities in the park to take action and tackle the nature and climate crisis.

The cash, from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, will support the Cairngorms 2030 project which has a range of targets including: pioneering nature-friendly farming and green finance; restoring 6500 hectares of carbon-storing peatland; creating the equivalent of 1500 football pitches of new woodland; and empowering communities.

Cairngorms 2030 is one of the largest projects ever supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The total value of the programme could reach up to £42.3m, with further funding potentially coming from CNPA, the Scottish Government, and a range of partners over coming years.

First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “We are proud to support the Cairngorms to become the UK’s first net-zero national park. 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.”

However, the friction between CNPA and local farmers and crofters over the lack of consultation regarding the reintroduction of beavers to the area saw more than 70 participants campaigning through Grantown.

NFUS Highland regional manager Ian Wilson expressed concern over CNPA’s governance. He said at the time: “The fact that the Cairngorms park has not delivered and worked with farmers and crofters is a concern.”

The Cairngorms National Park covers 1,118,720 acres, comprising 6% of Scotland’s land area, spanning regions including Aberdeenshire, Moray, Highland, Angus, Perth, and Kinross.

With a new national park under consideration, NFU Scotland says it remains committed to opposing the move amid concerns about the impact on the rural economy. It says its position is based on the experience of many farmers and crofters currently living and working in either the Cairngorms National Park or the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.