It doesn't seem to matter what the story is, or what the involvement is, but I really can't work up any enthusiasm or support for National Park Authorities (NPA).
This time, I find my first thought regarding some cash handouts from the European Union is one of "Why is the NPA getting any - it's not a community". The communities that should be benefiting from receiving the total cash handout lie within the NPA. I can just about understand a council getting some, as it has a responsibility to the communities it is serves, and we can see what return is to be had for the cash concerned, but not so in the case of the NPA.
Looking at the cash breakdown...
Laggan Community Association received £17,100 and will use part of this to launch WiFi in its area.
Glen Tanar Estate received £15,943 and will upgrade Aboyne telephone exchange, Aberdeenshire.
These improvements will provide broadband access.
Cairngorms Mountain Rescue Association received £10,000 and will buy a new 4x4 ambulance.
Highland Council received £5,000 to be spent on play equipment in Aviemore and Carrbridge.
Abernethy Old Kirk Association received £4,980 and will repair stonework and seal the kirk against the weather.
The Cairngorms NPA will receive a total of £17.715 which will be spent on a Landscape Partnership Feasibility Study project and a junior ranger exchange scheme.
Sorry, but compared to those listed above, there is no tangible or material benefit for any of the communities in the area. Money spent on a study merely produces some paper (and justifies someone's job) and while a 'junior ranger exchange scheme' may be nice, once it's over, again there is no tangible result to show for the spend.
So, to my tired old eyes, the NPA has frittered away an amount of money that a community could have used to by hardware to improve broadband delivery, or repair some building at risk.
What makes you think wind turbines will not be built within the area defined by a National Park?
Hydro already has its foot in the door, with calls that the NPAs should ensure that any schemes are hidden.
And since the NPAs don't really seem to care about new developments being built within their area, and need to get money from somewhere (and have shown they are desperate and will charge anybody), it could be only a matter of time before turbines are seen as 'an environmentally sound method' of providing power within an NPA and being seen to shun fossil fuel and reduce CO2 emissions.
While it may not be the NPA, I was rather amazed to see that the bodies in control of Ben Nevis want (wanted? I don't know the outcome, but that's not relevant, it's the mere idea) to charge groups for climbing to the summit - such groups are generally only doing so because they are raising money for charity, through sponsorship.
And the Forestry Commission is offering unused land within forests to wind farm developers.
PS - Whatever else they may be, wind turbines are not inefficient.
I'm not entering a wind turbine debate, but suffice it to say I have studied the statistics and drawn my own conclusions regarding their inefficiency. It takes the output from approx 800 turbines to equal the output from one conventional power station and conventional power stations have to be available to make up the shortfall when the turbines stop due to too little or too much wind.
That aside I got the impression that NPA were agin wind farms due to their strong opposition to a proposal right on the edge of the Cairngorms National Park in Angus and the opposition to the siting of yet more turbines in Wales.
I'm not a pro wind turbine advocate - in fact, if you look at the posts I've made in the past, the conclusion would probably be that I'm an anti, but that would be wrong too.
I don't know what you've studied regarding statistics, but the operating results obtained from wind turbines is sufficiently close to the predicted operation performance as to make no material difference.
Your statement regarding "when the turbines stop due to too little or too much wind" sounds as if is the same as a rather poor report recently claimed, and was spun to use every operating criteria in a negative way. There is no surprise, or hidden fact, that wind turbines do not generate power when there is no wind (it would be a great trick if they did), and the safety cut-off for high winds is taken into account when assessing their performance, as the periods at which wind blows at any given speed is generally known across the country.
These are the criteria that wind turbines are assessed against, and they are expected to perform for about 30% of the time.
Those who recently produced a report 'revealing' the fact that turbines did not produce power all the time, and that they did not produce it when needed - again, they 'revealed' that winds were lesser in cold times as if was a secret or covered up - are guilty of producing a very poor document by presenting known information with deliberately negative and incorrect explanations.
They deliberately ignore the small, but possibly important fact that while they wrote as if wind power was supposed to power the country on its own, and clearly can't, there never has been any such idea promoted even by the most rabid wind power advocate.
Wind has always been promoted as part of a renewable energy SYSTEM.
When it's not doing its stuff, another source will be used, and in future, there well also be more mass storage on line.
But why let facts get in the way when you're producing a report for an organisation that want to chase wind farms off its land?
Anyway, I don't want to debate wind power either, but I do want to rubbish bad reporting >
(And that report really irritated me - and I do have the qualifications to read it).
The Cairngorms makes for an interesting case, since the NPA was attempting to block developments that were not even on its own land, but would ultimately be visible from it.
I see it now has a few sites around its perimeter 'wall'.
We have specific threads for wind and hydro power, renewable, solar - and anything else that might come along
Just search, and they should pop up fairly quickly.
They are NOT debate threads for their respective subject, but are intended to provide a place where current development and issues can be posted so that we (I? ) stay reasonably up to date, and maybe have a little bit of ongoing comment.
But they won't (be allowed to) fight the various subjects - there are plenty of other forums where folk can fall out over the various claimed pros and cons of each
Well, here's another one about National Park misery.
I've said elsewhere that NPAs will approve anything that suits them and extends their power - or makes them some money.
Cairngorms National Park Authority has closed down a paintball business that has been running in the UK's biggest national park without planning approval, after seeking refusal for retrospective permission.
The committee said that while the CNPA supported recreational activity and ventures they had to be balanced against their impacts on the environment.
Convener Duncan Bryden said: "Quad biking and paintballing are indeed very popular and I recognise the applicant's enterprising spirit,
"But from landscape impacts to environmental effects and from the lack of noise assessment or mitigation proposals, I support the planning officer's recommendation to refuse this application."
The area that had been used is also to be restored.
Wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. Just have a look at what's happened to the Hub at Glentress. Okay, this is the Forestry Commission, but the same attitude seems to apply.
Short story: a couple of MTB enthusiasts spend 10 years building Glentress up to be the biggest MTB centre in the country, but the FC are kicking them out in favour of their own visitor centre and hand-picked operators.
Aside from the arguments regarding the efficiency/inefficiency of wind turbines....my beef is that the whole country is sinking under them. I'm tired of seeing windfarms everywhere I look, I don't want anymore.. enough is enough is enough!
An energy company is hoping to build 20 wind turbines, each about 100m (328ft) high, on a hill near Loch Lomond.
The Ard Ghaoth development, by Banks Renewables, would be north-east of the village of Drymen, and just outside the Loch Lomond National Park boundary.
Banks Renewables said the wind farm, which would be built on agricultural land, would have a capacity of up to 40MW.
Plans for the scheme will go on show in Drymen on Monday.
The exhibition, at the Buchanan Arms Hotel, is part of the public consultation on the wind farm, which would be sited a few miles east of Connic Hill.
The company said the proposed site was within an area identified by Stirling Council as potentially having the capacity to accommodate a wind farm. 'Benefits package'
A planning application for a wind monitoring mast, which will examine if the site is viable, was about to be submitted to the authority for review, as well as ecological and ornithological surveys of the site.
Banks Renewables said local people's views on the wind farm would "help shape" the final proposal.
A "significant community benefits package" will also be offered to the community if the application is successful.
Colin Anderson, director at Banks Renewables, said: "Whilst the proposed site has been identified within an area that potentially has the capacity for a wind farm we are also well aware of central Stirlingshire's importance as a gateway link to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.
"We have therefore already commenced a number of very detailed studies that will help us to prepare a comprehensive planning application and environmental statement which fully takes account of the setting of the site."
A spokesman for Drymen Community Council said it had not yet come to a view, but would be consulting closely with residents over the plans.
Landscape advisors from the national park will be involved in the application as a neighbouring planning authority
It should come as no surprise that the occasion of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park provided the authority with a prime opportunity to almost put itself in hospital from all the congratulations it heaped on itself for all its 'achievements', and from the 'patting itself on the back'.
I'm not so daft as to say the NPA has not done anything, but a lot would have happened without it if those who cared had been free to carry on as they were before. And I worry when it finds the need to introduce laws that we already have. They generally make a great play on litter and vandals - but we have laws that deal with these. What we need is enforcement. I'd have been much happier to hear them say 'We have more rangers with police support' rather than to find more laws had been made up.
But as the comment on this BBC News item about the NPA also notes: The Park Authority was given a range of responsibilities, including planning, and has been instrumental in the introduction of some controversial by-laws.
The NPA should not be doing anything controversial, other than being described as 'intransigent and closed-minded' for blocking all but a tiny fraction of any of the development brought to its door - something it has not done.
It should be preserving the area and keeping it untouched, a haven where people can go to get a way from everyday life and... 'development' of any sort.