MSP's disappointment over closure of charity
18 March 2010
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP Peter Peacock has expressed his disappointment at the announcement that a charity which has helped visitors to enjoy Ben and Glen Nevis is to close.
The Nevis Partnership, a charity set up to manage and help enhance the environmental qualities and opportunities for visitor enjoyment and appreciation of the Ben and the Glen, has achieved a number of notable successes.
Since its formation in 2003 the charity has secured almost £3million to undertake footpath maintenance work on Ben Nevis, Britain's highest mountain; improved access to the North Face by creating a new route through Chapman's Wood; re-aligned the Ben's summit navigational cairns to make it easier to descend from the summit in bad weather; and created a memorial garden in Glen Nevis to those who have died on the mountain.
In addition, the Partnership has promoted the Nevis Area through publishing interpretive leaflets, creating new forest trails in Glen Nevis, helping safeguard the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection and instigating a schools education programme and a footpaths skills training agenda at Lochaber College.
But like many other charities in the current economic climate the Partnership has been severely affected by recent cuts in funding, particularly from Highland Council. Those cuts have been of such magnitude that the Board has had to take the decision to cease operating during 2011 once the charity's current commitments have been met.
Mr Peaccock said: "This is very disappointing news, not only are jobs affected, but the plans to keep improving the enhancement of the experience of visitors to Glen and Ben Nevis will grind to a halt.
"If there is any mountain area of Scotland under continuous pressure from large visitor numbers and with a need for ongoing investment, this is it.
"The progress we have seen over recent years to recognise the importance of the area, the creation of the Partnership itself, and the support they have received hitherto, has all been a demonstration of just how important Britain's highest mountain area is.
"The effects of the Scottish government's priorities are clear, while cutting the budget of SNH and the Council, they are happy to find money for work on removing Scotland from the UK, but not, it seems, to support work to improve the environment of the UK's highest mountain area and the local tourist and visitor infrastructure."
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