SIR, The potential for a new national park is generating some debate about the value of those we already have. That’s to be welcomed, but we need to judge their effectiveness on facts and evidence rather than hearsay and anecdote, as happened in the letter of February 2 – ‘Rural workers do not want any more National Parks’.

The work of Scotland’s national parks is determined in their partnership plans, which are produced every five years after lengthy consultation. Our plan was discussed for over a year and had 1500 responses – over half from people living and working in the National Park. Significant changes were made to reflect feedback, and the plan is all the stronger for that.

The Park Authority works closely with land managers across the national park. On peatland restoration, there are 57,000 hectares of eroded peat in the Cairngorms, and we work with land managers and contractors – many based locally – to carry out restoration work to lock up carbon, hold back water to prevent flooding, and restore nature. We’ve also worked with 60 farms (40 farmers) over the past two years on goose management, dry stone dykes, mob grazing and other initiatives.

The 15 rangers that the Park Authority employs and the six other ranger services we grant-aid receive constant positive feedback from residents and visitors. Last year alone they engaged with over 10,000 people and dealt with 219 fires.

The Park Authority also does a lot of work to support the economy and address housing issues. Our local development plan focuses on the issues that matter most locally. Hence the 45% affordable home target in four key towns and villages (versus the national 25%), which we are committed to increasing to 75% by 2030. Between 2016 and 2021, we granted permission for 216 affordable units, 175 of which were completed.

There is no extra layer of bureaucracy in planning: if we call it in, we deal with it. If not, the local authority does.

There are very few projects in the Cairngorms that don’t benefit from Park Authority funding. We’ve invested millions in facilities and paths. We grant-aid community development officers to help deliver community action plans. We support Growbiz, the Cairngorms Business Partnership, and Countryside Learning Scotland to deliver business development and rural skills.

Over the past two decades, the Park Authority has levered in tens of millions on top of core funding to help the area. Just last week, we received £10.7 million from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of a £42.3m package which will help communities, land managers and businesses across the Cairngorms.

Finally, we look to hire the best people for the jobs we have. The majority of our staff live locally and play an active part in their local communities. At a time of rural depopulation, more jobs in rural Scotland that are attractive is surely a good thing?

I’m proud to live in a national park and, when you look at the facts, I hope many people reading this will be too.

Grant Moir, CEO, Cairngorms National Park Authority