Help shape the expansion of Scotland's National Parks

Communities, groups and individuals are being invited to share their views in a consultation on the creation of Scotland’s first new National Parks in almost 20 years.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 7:37 am
It is almost 20 years since one of Scotland’s first National Parks in the Cairngorms were established
It is almost 20 years since one of Scotland’s first National Parks in the Cairngorms were established

The Scottish Government committed to establish at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this Parliamentary session in 2026, as part of the Bute House agreement with the Scottish Green Party and the Programme for Government.

The public consultation is looking at what people value about Scottish National Parks, and what these areas should deliver in future – in particular, how they can help to protect and restore nature, tackle climate change and promote sustainable land use.

This will be followed by a longer period during which communities, local government and organisations will be encouraged and supported to develop proposals for new Parks.

Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said: “It is almost two decades since Scotland’s first National Parks in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms were established. Both are home to some of the country’s most outstanding scenery, are internationally important areas for nature and receive millions of visitors each year.

"They work hard to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis, help manage facilities for visitors, promote responsible access and develop sustainable communities. They have become jewels in Scotland’s crown, and now is the time to add to them.

“We want to gauge what people want their National Parks to deliver for the environment, culture and the communities within their boundaries. I would strongly encourage everyone to take part and ensure your views are heard and reflected in the shaping of this historic expansion of Scotland’s National Parks.”

Carolyn Caddick, Deputy Convenor of the Cairngorms National Park Authority Board said: “Any decision on new national parks for Scotland is a matter for Scottish Government and we welcome the announcement from Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, about the consultation on the future of national parks.

“Setting up a new park is a massive opportunity for an area but will also come with challenges. Collaboration between residents, visitors, local businesses, land managers, public bodies and so on is crucial and it is therefore very important that the public have their say on how Scotland’s national parks should develop in the future.”

She continued: “National Parks in Scotland are important places, not just for wildlife and habitats, but they should also benefit the people that live and work there as well as those who visit to enjoy the parks special qualities. Scotland’s national parks also have a critical role to play in tackling the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis, helping Scotland reach (and go beyond) net zero by 2045.

“This consultation – alongside our recent National Park Partnership Plan consultation – will provide a robust foundation for everything we do in the Cairngorms National Park, guiding our actions not just in the short term but out to 2045 and beyond.

Read and take part in the consultation at www.ideas.gov.scot/the-future-for-national-parks-in-scotland