A National Park Service

With the creation of another National Park there could be significant advantage in creating a single Scottish National Park service which delivers locally in each park. This may allow a simplification in structures and a consistency in managing each area. Standardised approaches to dealing with the climate crisis and nature restoration might have greater weight coming from a single unified voice. A single approach to planning inside and out of park boundaries would benefit developers, land managers and residents. each park is unique and some local solutions would be necessary however many things are the same and it would allow a single unified approach to communications, promotion and a single voice for the parks as a whole. This approach is very successful in the US and Canada.

Why the contribution is important

Creating a single NP service would simplify the important messages around national parks, what they can offer communities and their contribution to addressing the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change. bringing them together as a single entity will make a unified identity across Scotland that everyone can be proud of.

by BobbyCotton on May 14, 2022 at 07:56PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.4
Based on: 11 votes


  • Posted by Christinealba May 20, 2022 at 10:46

    I would recommend if possible the model used for Scottish National Parks is based on the Canadian one which is have used on many occasions and as a tourist had no issue with paying to access. The money tourists bring improve infrastructure, facilities and restrict access when necessary, the big bonus is that it also brings jobs to service the visitors. The other benefit I learned from Banff is that they restrict the housing supply to those that work in the community and hereditary owners ensuring there is always a supply for those who are required to work in the NP. Looks and feels to me like a successful model.
  • Posted by ajnaughton May 20, 2022 at 17:48

    I agree that exploring a Scottish National Park Service similar to Canada's has some merit and would give a more unified and coherent approach across all the national parks and common themes. However local circumstances and identity also needs to be taken into account so not a one size fits all approach. Housing for local communities is a key area that needs to be addressed. But approach could be very valuable for common themes and a united identity for all Scotland's National Parks with common initiatives across all of them and be cost effective. Canada's Red Chair artwork could be an inspiration! https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/voyage-travel/chaises-chairs
  • Posted by malcolmrdickson May 25, 2022 at 13:38

    Certainly the Canadian model should be considered. However, I believe that it is necessary for the proper governance of National Parks that there be a significant local element to that governance, including stakeholders like authorised representatives of farming and land management interests. Perhaps the local NPAs could sit under an overarching network of NP delegates which could provide the needed sharing of good practice, staff training, support services and international networking.
  • Posted by SHenryB96 May 25, 2022 at 22:33

    Could Historic Environment Scotland’s remit be extended to Cover National Parks in collaboration with NatureScot? Perhaps a joint oversight role by both bodies with a governing body created by involving the directors of both? This would allow for a wider heritage element to be brought into the governance of the areas, alongside the natural expertise held by NatureScot?
  • Posted by SCNPandAPRS May 26, 2022 at 15:44

    SCNP and APRS agree that when planning an expansion of Scotland’s current tiny family of National Parks it makes sense to consider the pros and cons of creating of a National Parks Service for Scotland. We recommended this in our ‘Unfinished Business’ (2013) Report (http://scnp.org.uk/publications/), which envisaged a service which could support the work of existing and new national parks and also support other protected landscapes including National Scenic Areas (NSA) and Regional Parks. A National Parks Service could provide independent advice, offer central expertise and promote integration of the management of all protected landscapes in Scotland - for example by supporting the production of long-overdue management plans for NSAs. A National Parks Service could bring significant overall cost savings by removing the need to replicate all aspects of the Park Authorities for each National Park, although it would remain important to preserve an element of local democratic control, especially over planning matters. It could also make it easier to include in the National Park “family” areas of varying size, requiring different kinds and levels of management attention. In addition, a National Parks Service could help to fill what is currently a gaping hole in Scotland’s capability for developing and managing its key tourism industry, which has been highlighted by the visitor management challenge mentioned under “Sustainable Tourism and Visitor Management”. The recent upsurge in ‘holidaying at home’ and the greater recognition of the benefits to individuals of getting out into the outdoors have cruelly exposed the fact that the effort that the country has put into marketing its attractions, and particularly its wealth of fine landscapes, has not been matched by provision for caring for them and improving access to them in ways that do not erode their value. The response to the pandemic has resulted in some short-term funding and attention for visitor management but has not provided a durable solution to a long-term problem, which may well become still more severe as we struggle to make the transition to a fairer, low carbon economy and society. A National Parks Service with a broad remit of the kind envisaged could have a central role in addressing it and thus ensuring that Scotland makes the very most of its outstanding landscape and other environmental assets.
  • Posted by camusfearna May 31, 2022 at 11:18

    The noted importance of local involvement in the management of our national parks - enshrined in the founding legislation - argues against any notion of a single national park service or an additional overarching layer of management (yet more expense in Board fees and further complicating governance and accountability). The current arrangements retain important links to constituent local authorities and provide for directly elected local members, with only approx one-third of Board members being appointed nationally by Scottish Ministers. Also, unlike most Scottish NDPBs, it is the Board which elects the Convener (Chair) rather than that person being appointed by Ministers. The Convener and the Board are of course accountable to Scottish Ministers but the important local elements of the Boards are an essential feature of the current arrangements. The experience and views of those involved in the governance and management of our existing national parks, including their delivery of national outcomes locally, should be sought before any consideration is given to introducing an additional expensive and complicating layer of governance.
  • Posted by Gorr73 May 31, 2022 at 12:02

    Yet another layer of bureaucracy. NPs are well able to partner, coordinate and share knowledge. They do not need a layer over them, lying between them and SG.
  • Posted by adm June 06, 2022 at 16:47

    Having a completely self-standing Park Authority for every National Park is bureaucratic and wasteful - but each Park needs to be locally accountable. So have a separate Park Board (with some elected members) for each park, but provide as much shared support as possible. So can a 'Service' support more than one Park Board?
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