Economic Development

The Spey catchment is an iconic destination for fishing, wildlife, recreation, whisky and more, meaning tourism and development need to be appropriately managed.

The Spey Fishery Board’s weekly fishing reports, website and social media have successfully promoted the Spey as a world-class angling destination. A new distillery is almost complete at Grantown-on-Spey and Diageo obtained Association of Water Stewardship accreditation with the Spey a key part of that. Visitors have been encouraged to value the environment and reduce their impact by CNPA rangers and other initiatives.

To ensure there’s capacity within the catchment to support development, growth projects at Water and Wastewater Treatment Works have been delivered at Aviemore and are in development at Kincraig, with new boreholes at Dalwhinnie. The Spey Fishery Board’s input to the A9 dualling and the CNPA’s new Local Development Plan, which considers impacts on the Spey from new development, are both helping to protect the catchment.

To deliver work throughout the catchment, SCI have consolidated and funded the SCI Project Officer role and recruited a Nature Restoration Officer (with support from NatureScot in 2022). Regular SCI Steering Group meetings have facilitated excellent communication and collaboration with partners, with more integrated working throughout the catchment. This includes more integration with the CNPA’s woodland expansion and peatland restoration work, and SEPA continuing to lead many aspects of integrated catchment management.

Examples of key successes from 2017 - 2021:

Whisky continues to play an important role throughout Speyside

Whisky has long been synonymous with Speyside and the industry continues to thrive and expand, making a valuable contribution to the economy of the area.

Partners have helped ensure A9 dualing has minimal impact

The dualling of the A9 is just one of the major developments in the catchment where advice from SFB, CNPA, NatureScot, RSPB and other partners has ensured any negative impacts on water courses from the construction phase onwards are kept to a minimum.

Ranger services have been expanded to deal with growing visitor numbers

Increasing pressure from ever growing visitor numbers has demanded additional resources and innovative approaches to protect wildlife and habitats from the impacts of tourism, including expanding the ranger services run by FLS and CNPA.

Angling continues to contribute millions of pounds to the local economy

Angling draws many visitors to Speyside each year and generates millions of pounds for the local economy, both directly through fishing lets and via income for the hospitality and other tourism industries.