Galloway National Park Could Help UK Reach Target of 30% Protected Land

Scotland risks being caught out at next year’s COP26 Meeting in Glasgow.  The UK Government committed the country in September 2020 to meet the commitment to “protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030”.

When the Leaders Pledge for Nature was signed in September, Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed to protect an additional 4% of England and to work with the Devolved Administrations to agree an approach across Scotland.

However, a recent report by the Scottish Campaign for National Parks has revealed that in Scotland only 22.7% of land meets this commitment.  To reach the target for Scotland the Scottish Government needs to designate a further 7.3% of the land.

Rob Lucas the Chair of the Galloway National Park Association said

“There is only one way we can see this target being met which is for the Scottish Government to commit to designating more National Parks.  A new Park in Galloway and in the Borders would meet this target at a stroke. 
“Over the past four years we have researched and consulted on a proposal for a National Park in Galloway and we are convinced that this would go a long way to support the rural economy, protect some of Scotland’s finest landscapes and help overcome the problems faced by the hospitality sector following Covid19.  The widespread support from communities in Galloway, South and East Ayrshire is very clear.

Galloway and West Dumfries Conservative MSP Finlay Carson who has long campaigned for a National Park for Galloway picking up on the wishes of the late Sir Alec Fergusson added

We are in the midst of not only a climate emergency but also a biodiversity crisis. Urgent action must be taken to reverse the decline in our species and protect our natural environment before it is too late. New National Park designations would go a long way to achieving that. 
“The Biosphere, home to an estimated 95,000 people, is marvellous enshrining as it does the fantastic array of landscapes, wildlife, cultural heritage and learning opportunities in a swathe of countryside across South and East Ayrshire and into Dumfries and Galloway. Yet it is no substitute for a National Park, and I will continue to press the Scottish Government to look favourably on the drive to create a National Park across parts of Galloway

South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said

It’s a year since the Scottish Parliament backed my motion supporting the designation of new National Parks, so it is deeply disappointing that the Scottish Government have been dragging their heels and haven’t yet shaken off their opposition. Supporting a Galloway National Park is a win, win for them. It would help give our region an economic boost at a time when the local economy will need all the support it can get post-pandemic and it will boost our environment as we face up to a climate emergency.  
“With new National Parks planned for the rest of the UK, without action Scotland will fall further behind when it comes the protection of our natural environment and that would be embarrassing as hosts of COP26.

South of Scotland Scottish National Party MSP Emma Harper commented

The COP26 meeting in Glasgow next year will undoubtably allow Scotland to showcase its work to protect our natural environment, to work to our goal of completely ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and to making Scotland a net-zero greenhouse gas emitter by 2045.

“I agree with the Galloway National Park Association that the Scottish Government must play its part in ensuring that 30% of UK land is designated as protected by 2030 and that, in order to meet this, the Scottish Government must work to ensure 7.3% of additional land is protected by the 2030 deadline.

“In Galloway, I am aware that the Scottish Government is providing £1.9m of funding to the UNESCO Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere. But current assignment of land which could be incorporated into the 30% by 2030 Across Scotland, does not allow Inclusion of UNESCO assigned Biospheres. The Government is taking a number of other actions to ensure that both our marine and natural environment is protected and given the opportunity to flourish.

“I will continue to work to press the Scottish Government to ensure we meet these important targets, and to put the spotlight on the work which is already ongoing in Galloway.”


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