Park board convener to step down

​Xander McDade, who still step down as authority board convener in June.​Xander McDade, who still step down as authority board convener in June.
​Xander McDade, who still step down as authority board convener in June.
Cairngorms National Park Authority convener Xander McDade will step down from the post, with a successor to be elected at the authority’s board meeting on June 23.

The new convener will take office on July 24.

Mr McDade joined the board in 2017, becoming its youngest ever convener in September 2018 at the age of 23.

He also became Provost of Perth and Kinross in May 2022, and is the proprietor of the Ballinluig Hotel to the south of the National Park boundary.

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Although he is stepping down as convener, Mr McDade will remain on the authority’s board until the end of his current term, which will be in September 2024.

He said: "It has been an incredible privilege to serve as the Convener of the Cairngorms National Park Authority at a time of extraordinary change and growth for the National Park.”

"Having launched our fourth and most ambitious National Park Partnership Plan ever in August, and with direct elections and new Ministerial appointments to the Park Authority on the horizon, now feels like an appropriate moment to step aside and let the new Board select a new convener to take the park forward.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank my Board colleagues past and present for their support.”

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"Also to pay tribute to our incredibly hard-working staff of the Park Authority who have delivered so much over the past few years despite significant challenges.

"I am particularly proud to have overseen the founding of the first ever Park Authority Ranger Service which now makes a huge impact supporting communities, land owners and visitors all year round as well as a significant increase in the Authority’s budget.

"I believe the new National Park Partnership Plan along with our Heritage Horizons: Cairngorms 2030 project provide real clarity to deliver on the key issues that we face in the Cairngorms National Park. and I look forward to working with the new Convener and my fellow board members to deliver on these."

During his time as Convener, Mr McDade has overseen the delivery of a variety of major work streams.

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In July 2021, funding was secured from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for Heritage Horizons: Cairngorms 2030, a ground-breaking £40m programme to empower the people of the National Park to tackle the nature and climate crisis.

He contributed significantly to the Park Authority's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including overseeing the Green Recovery Fund for businesses and the creation a dedicated Park Authority ranger service across the National Park.

A new Local Development Plan for the Park included a new target for at least 45% of new housing to be affordable in key locations, whilst significant investment has been made in access infrastructure and conservation projects across the Park.

Lorna Slater, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, said: "It has been a pleasure to work with Xander since I started as a Minister.

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"Under his leadership, the Cairngorms National Park Authority has made good progress in delivering on a number of key priorities – including tackling the twin biodiversity and climate emergencies. The new National Park Partnership Plan provides great leadership on these and other key issues for the Park. I look forward to meeting Xander's successor and continuing the vital work being undertaken by the Authority."

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