The team behind the campaign for a ‘Galloway National Park’ is preparing to make the strongest possible bid after nominations opened today for Scotland’s next National Park
The Scottish Government has asked areas that believe they should have National Park status to put forward a detailed application by next February.
Communities and organisations are being invited to submit their proposals to become Scotland’s next National Park.
A key commitment in the Bute House Agreement is to designate at least one new National Park in Scotland by 2026, to bring positive benefits for the environment and economy.
For the first time, nominations for a new Park will be driven entirely by local communities and organisations, and all areas of Scotland are eligible to submit proposals. To meet the criteria, groups must be able to demonstrate, among other factors:
- outstanding national importance due to natural or culture heritage
- a distinctive character and coherent identity
- how National Park status would meet the specific needs of the area
- evidence of local support for the proposal
Detailed guidance has been published, and support will be available for any group looking to explore or take forward a proposal. The deadline for submissions is 29 February 2024.
Visiting Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater commented:
“Scotland’s National Parks are among our greatest assets. They are home to internationally renowned landscapes and nature, and provide outstanding opportunities for recreation and local communities. – They also play a crucial role in tackling climate change and protecting our precious natural environment for future generations.
“Now is the time to add to them. We believe that a new National Park should be founded upon local community demand, which is why we are launching this unique nominations process.
“In May we invited early expressions of interest and we have already had a really positive response from communities and organisations across the length and breadth of the country. This is not at all surprising given just how much Scotland has to offer.
“I encourage everyone that is considering putting forward a proposal to read the guidance that we have published on the Scottish Government website, and get in touch to find out about the support available.”
Convener at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority Dr Heather Reid said:
“It is clear that more than ever we need our National Parks to lead the way in showing what a more sustainable future could look like.
“Biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history and together with the climate emergency, these twin crises are already having an impact on the country our children and grandchildren will inherit.
“The people, communities and natural assets of Scotland’s National Parks – existing and future – can contribute significantly to Scotland’s efforts to restore nature, tackle climate change and have greener economic growth.”
Cairngorms National Park Authority Board Convener Sandy Bremner said:
“This is a great opportunity for communities in Scotland to join the family of National Parks to tackle some of the biggest challenges around nature loss, climate change & community development.
“National Park status can bring enormous benefits to a region. It offers a heightened focus on the protection and enhancement of the area’s natural and cultural heritage. It can attract vital support to hard-pressed communities, and bring people together to achieve inspirational change.”
Rob Lucas, Chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), said: “We are delighted that nominations are open and are preparing to make the strongest possible bid for Galloway to become Scotland’s next National Park.
“We strongly believe that the region, with its magnificent rolling hills, mountains, moors, rivers, lochs and long coastlines is the ideal location and will offer visitors a very different experience to the existing National Parks.
“It will also open up a wonderful, and economically fragile area in the south of Scotland to sustainable regeneration through tourism and other business development while protecting some of the country’s most beautiful countryside for the future.
“Our campaign is also distinctive because it has tremendous support from the public, business, MPs, MSPs and all three local councils covering the proposed National Park area.
“Indeed, support is growing all the time with increasing numbers of people becoming GNPA members or signing up as business champions.”
The case for Galloway
There is strong public and business backing for it to be in Galloway as it will bring lasting and widespread benefits by:
- Making the most of our fabulous countryside and coastlines
- Generating sustainable tourism
- Creating business opportunities and jobs
- Providing a marketing brand that will put us on a world stage
- Attracting millions of pounds a year in investment and income
- Making space for nature to recover and flourish as a key part of the area’s response to climate change
- Improving health and wellbeing
- Offering opportunities for leisure and outdoor activities
- Encouraging young people and families to remain or return to the region.
GNPA also believes that Galloway is the best place for Scotland’s next National Park because:
- It has a unique mix of rolling farmland, low hills, wild moors, mountains and coastline – adding real diversity to Scotland’s family of National Parks.
- Unlike some parts of Scotland there is ample opportunity, and need, for an increase in sustainable tourism.
- It offers easy access to wonderful countryside for all ages and abilities, including economically deprived communities across south-west Scotland.
- Extensive public and business support for a Galloway National Park shows that the region is ready and eager to seize the opportunities it would bring.