criteria and process

1. What do you value most about Scotland's National Parks? • The opportunity to protect, enhance, promote and pilot best practice in terms of land management, nature conservation, cultural and social value, economic activities and business incubators and tackling the impacts and causes of climate change. • The value and recognition placed on national parks as being exemplars of the natural world, that has a unique value and recognition both locally, nationally and internationally. • The additionality and opportunities that National Parks can create through added value for local residents and businesses. • The dedicated resources to support and effect change to achieve the goals of the national park. • Being part of an international network of protected sites puts Scotland’s landscapes on the world stage and enables shared learning and expertise 2. How can National Parks help the environment? • National Parks are living landscapes with a mixed pattern of uses, including agriculture, forestry, sporting interests, paths, trails, habitats for wild animals, woodland and peatland, that benefit both those local residents and visitors. • Opportunities to pilot or test new land management techniques, on a landscape scale, that can support species and habitats should be undertaken in National Parks where the impacts and results can be captured and assessed. • Similarly with habitats and species, greater control and focus can be applied to manage on an ecosystems approach with the ability to consider the removal or control of invasive species and how these pilot projects can inform and shape national policy to assist with the improvements to our national biodiversity and landscape. • We face both a climate and biodiversity crisis with nature at risk by habitats being lost, and many plants and animals facing extinction or large falls in their numbers and increasing temperatures leading to more extreme weather events and impacts on our social and physical infrastructure through flooding, drought wildfires. National Parks should be at the forefront of how we can use rewilding and other nature-based tools to tackle both the climate and biodiversity crises. The focus needs to be on innovation and pilot opportunities that will address these either through better habitat and land management practices, additional opportunities for sequestration through existing and improved ecosystems (such as peatlands) to zero carbon solutions for transport and buildings within the National Parks, demonstrating the opportunities their cost and their returns both financially and wider. • There is also the opportunity to consider National Parks as living examples case studies, best practice that should be promoted and showcased nationally and internationally on how to tackle and address key issues surrounding our natural environment. • National Parks could demonstrate how the connectivity and creation of nature corridors can benefit both the environment and local communities. 3. How can we better manage visitor pressures in National Parks? • Visitor pressures vary from location to location and dependent on the time of year, key sites will inevitably experience more visitor pressures, the ability to assess the demands on both the towns and landscapes within a national park are critical to ensuring the most appropriate response to ensure that the benefits from visitors does not have negative impacts on the resident population and businesses. • National Parks should aim to reduce emissions from traffic and reverse the damage to the local environment. This could be done by promoting more sustainable access to the countryside and tourism and support and address the infrastructure throughout the National Park Boundary ensuring that all areas are accessible and able to benefit from active travel solutions and other connectivity opportunities. • How the flow of visitors is managed throughout and adjacent to the park boundary through effective engagement and discussions with all local key stakeholders to create an effective infrastructure framework as part of the designation, from accommodation providers, retail businesses, primary producers, residents etc. • The ability to influence visitor’s choice of locations through active management, and real time information, would reduce congestion and overuse at key sites. • Consideration to the management and maintenance of all trails and visitor facilities and infrastructure to ensure that there are adequate resources available to restore and enhance areas which are sympathetic to the landscape. • Ensure there is a sustainable local population equipped with the skills and knowledge to undertake the roles of visitor management and hosting 4. What criteria should we use to decide where the next new National Parks in Scotland should be? • Whilst there are a number of locations currently considering their own suitability for National Park status, there should be consideration to the Geographical location of any proposed new national park in Scotland and the existing two National Parks. • Any new location should be able to demonstrate effectively how as a National Park it will be able to improve its ability to o Protect, enhance and promote its Biodiversity, Habitats, Landscape and Cultural identities o Harness sustainable use of its natural, cultural and social resources o Create a better understanding, value and enjoyment of the area for all o Enhance and promote sustainable economic and social development, both directly within the park boundary and those areas adjacent to it o Actively contribute and lead on our response to the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and a greener more sustainable future o Improve consensus and a sense of identify and place • Any new location should be able to demonstrate how it will achieve the above in an innovative approach that doesn’t necessarily follow the established governance structures of the existing national parks, they should also demonstrate how they will reduce bureaucracy and increase the support and delivery through existing stakeholders, projects and developments.

Why the contribution is important

it provides context in relation to the initial ask around the 4 thematic questions posed

by dumfriesandgallowaycouncil on June 06, 2022 at 02:59PM

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