Criteria for a new National Park

To help Ministers decide which areas are to be taken forward as Scotland's next National Parks, we need to establish the key criteria areas should meet. We want to build on the Aims in the Act of Parliament which establishes National Parks to: 1. Conserve and enhance nature 2. Promote sustainable use of natural resources 3. Promote understanding and enjoyment 4. Promote sustainable economic and social development We will therefore also be considering why National Park status would improve an area's future, and the level of support for the designation from people within the area.

Why the contribution is important

We need to have some criteria to use to assess areas for consideration as National Parks. We want the public to add their ideas to our existing criteria.

by ScottishGovernment on May 10, 2022 at 10:52AM

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Based on: 21 votes

Comments

  • Posted by Prentice May 13, 2022 at 10:27

    I think a criteria for a New National Park should be that it has local support. Currently two proposed area have local support these are in Galloway and the Scottish Borders for a new national park. I therefore think that these area's should be considered as a result. Also there is currently no national park in the South of Scotland so believe these would be a good fit for this reason also. Galloway in particular has nearby access to an English and Irish Market of tourists which could visit a National park based here. Dumfries and Galloway as a constituency has the lowest pay of all of Scotland's regions https://planetradio.co.uk/westsound/local/news/dumfries-and-galloway-has-highest-percentage-of-people-earning-less-than-the-living-wage/ https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/local-news/average-wage-dumfries-galloway-80-10674393 A national park based here therefore could help kickstart the local economy, bringing higher quality jobs and a tourist boom for the South of Scotland Economy. It could also help with meeting CO2 aims and environmental targets.
  • Posted by Choosy May 13, 2022 at 14:09

    The best candidate regions for National Park status MUST be able to demonstrate a clear plan to achieve a true balance of the proposed key criteria. The competing regions will obviously start from quite different current economic and landscape realities and so will face different challenges to achieving an acceptable balance.
  • Posted by Carolebaugh May 13, 2022 at 14:31

    I agree with the above comments. Dumfries and Galloway also has a stunning coast line, great cycle tracks for gravel and mountain bikes, and roads suitable for road cyclists. There are plenty of RSPB sites as well, it will enhance the area.
  • Posted by CarolSB May 13, 2022 at 16:13

    I like the idea of a park in the Southern Highlands. Everyone rushes to the Highlands causing overcrowding and diminishing the experience. If there are good alternatives inDumfries & Galloway or the Borders, maybe more people will enjoy a less crowded Park experience while spreading out the impact on the environment. I do agree though that the locals need to support the concept , wherever it is located.
  • Posted by jdemps May 13, 2022 at 18:28

    Fantastic. Idea. Dumfries and Galloway Forrest’s.
  • Posted by gordonhodge May 13, 2022 at 20:42

    The essence of the character of the Galloway Hills is that it is largely a pathless wilderness. A wilderness that helps support its biodiversity. Some of which is rare and endangered. This inaccessibility is fundamental in my opinion to maintaining this. In view of this I urge that the Galloway Hills should not be designated a National Park.
  • Posted by Prentice May 14, 2022 at 10:39

    Hi Gordon, could you give an example of Rare or Endangered species in the Galloway Forest. Galloway forest can also be explored on foot, cycling or by car according to Forestry and Land Scotland. Source: https://forestryandland.gov.scot/visit/forest-parks/galloway-forest-park The Forest park also has red deer and goats that can be seen as well as a loch, Robert the Bruce trail and Dark Sky Park.
  • Posted by Wintergreen May 14, 2022 at 10:53

    National Parks need to be just that - landscapes of national significance and able to accommodate a range of informal recreational activities. Local desire to have one is a supporting criterion. Starting point should be land or sea of sufficience extent that potential damage by visitors attracted by NP status can be absorbed. the tourist economic reasons demonstrated by proponents of the Galloway and the Borders proposals are insufficient to merit NP status - their aims of tourist income can be achieved by clever marketing without diminishing the status of National Park.
  • Posted by Prentice May 14, 2022 at 11:27

    Hi Wintergreen, Individuals have already mentioned that the highlands have too many tourists visiting and same with some area's in the central belt. A National Park in the South of Scotland would help 'spread' the tourists coming into Scotland with the South of Scotland under visited and and it's economics resources under-utilised. Sure clever marketing could help attract tourists to a National Park anywhere in Scotland but why not take advantage of an a tourist market just a few miles south over the English border or across the Irish Sea that could visit? Covid-19 has increased the number of people having staycations in the UK and across Europe. I don't think this is likely to change in the near future and Galloway not being far away from other countries of the UK I think it makes it an ideal location. As mentioned above Galloway also has local support, attractions, different ways in which the National Park can be explored, and would help put the area on the map as well as increase economic activity and prosperity in the region as well as the wider South of Scotland.
  • Posted by Lizzie May 15, 2022 at 00:46

    Could one of the criteria be; “An area which showcases the natural environment having shaped national culture.” I believe this connection between the land and how the people of the country have been shaped is a key factor in the importance of National parks around the world and creates stronger connections with our countries history. This is currently done very well in the Cairngorms with the Highland folk museum showcasing the history of the Scottish peoples connection to the land and how living in that particular landscape shaped their customs. Examples of Scottish people being shaped by and preserving and working with the natural environment could range from care and use of the Peatbogs to the use of available materials to construct Crannogs on Lochs. Of course a National Park should have fantastic scenery and beautiful surroundings but connecting this beauty to protecting and preserving our countries culture and history is what would have it awarded UNESCO heritage status!
  • Posted by SLamb May 20, 2022 at 08:32

    Support the idea of choosing an area which would benefit from investment in the economy and the environment. Dumfries and Galloway has stunning scenery and a vast array of outdoor opportunities. The economic potential of this area remains unlocked. Dumfries and Galloway is well located to benefit from National Park status being close to urban areas in both England and Scotland.
  • Posted by DaddyBadger1 May 20, 2022 at 17:50

    National Park status will encourage more visitors so it's important that an area is chosen where there is appropriate carrying capacity for this, and where there is strong local support for the designation. To me, Galloway sounds like a good candidate - a large and reasonably accessible area, currently relatively quiet (as opposed to Glen Affric for example - a stunning place but already busy and with very limited road access).
  • Posted by SEGrant May 21, 2022 at 22:15

    It is important that we take into account the communities within our parks but to make sure that commercial interests do not override the purpose of designating parks in the first place. There should be clear priorities for parks to make the designation worthwhile - this must include sustainable management of resources and affordable options for existing residents. Too much of Scotland is owned and managed by too few people who remain unaccountable for the way the land is managed.
  • Posted by McNay May 22, 2022 at 10:37

    I don’t agree that a National Park in Galloway is best for the local economy. Basing the local economy on tourism does not bring quality employment to an area, merely low waged jobs in cleaning and servicing. The people who benefit are those who already have: landowners, tourism business operators, those who have enough money to leap into buying properties and holiday house letting. Locals are priced out and end up being bussed in to serve. Yes Dumfries and Galloway is a beautiful place with many natural facilities and potential. Far better to support the existing local projects that Galloway has : Biosphere, Forest Park, Dark Sky Park, Glenkens Initiative and not lose control of local planning. We should be encouraging diversity of employment, small local businesses that contribute to the Scottish economy overall. Having to build larger car parks and path infrastructure is not environmentally sustainable and introducing byelaws to control visitors behaviour defeats some of the ideas inherent in the Land Reform Act. I fail to understand how encouraging vast numbers of people and vehicles into a relatively unexploited area will help to restore or preserve habitat and wildlife or reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Posted by Prentice May 25, 2022 at 13:51

    Hi McNay, Can you tell me where you would build a National Park if not Galloway? You say that basing the local economy on tourism does not / will not bring quality jobs to Galloway but isn't this better than no jobs? You also say that those who benefit are those who already have e.g. landowners, tourism business owners etc but I presume that everyone would use a National Park here, not just those select groups? You then say that Locals are 'priced out' and bussed in to service? I'm guessing this type of proposition won't impact those in outlying area's for a start where quality of life is probably better for local residents to live anyway like Dumfries and that it would take many years for this possible transition of the 'bussing' out of locals to happen. I disagree also that Dumfries and Galloway should focus on all of these smaller projects rather I think a National Park would help bring them all together and add value to these projects. Many people outside the Galloway area don't know of these projects and this could help raise their profile. Lastly your points about building larger car parks and path infrastructure would occur regardless of where you built a National Park. You could argue Galloway Park is not protected now and that by gaining National Park status would have better protection.
  • Posted by Prentice May 25, 2022 at 13:53

    Galloway would have better protection*
  • Posted by malcolmrdickson May 25, 2022 at 14:58

    Criteria: Existing legislation plus: Potential and capacity to boost local economy, for example: 1. by increasing sustainable tourism and its support services through permanent, internationally and instantly recognisable global publicity and branding and improvement of infrastructure); 2. by attracting those working age families who are able to undertake their employment in any part of the UK. Capacity must also be a consideration. National Parks with larger and more dramatic landscapes, such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, Cairngorms and the Lake District, occasionally report that there appear to be too many visitors at once, clogging up rural roads and footpaths. Scottish Borders at present hosts around half the number of tourists experienced in Dumfries and Galloway so it is unlikely that a Scottish Borders National Park would suffer from invasions of huge numbers of tourists, such as are experienced elsewhere during the summer and on Bank Holidays in particular. Even doubling the footfall would only bring visitor levels up to those of D&G and that part of the country does not, yet, suffer from ‘over-visiting’. Likewise, if we acknowledge that NPs can provide the open spaces which enhance wellbeing and mental health, it would make sense for at least one new National Park in Scotland to be accessible to a large number of people. The Scottish Borders lies conveniently between Scotland's central belt (especially the magnet for tourism that Edinburgh has become), the North Eastern urban areas of England, and the North West of England, all served by airports and readily accessed by arterial railways and roads. If an extension to the Waverley railway is granted then the Scottish Borders could easily become a huge attraction for responsible and sustainable tourism, improving the local economy substantially, including through the related need for more local services to support tourism.
  • Posted by puppet May 25, 2022 at 17:47

    'Lastly your points about building larger car parks and path infrastructure would occur regardless of where you built a National Park. You could argue Galloway Park is not protected now and that by gaining National Park status would have better protection.' I don't think you 'build' a National Park like a Disney resort, the landscape and communities are already there. What are we protecting it from as planning is already tightly controlled? If it is just based on increased tourism then that is minimum wage jobs which cannot then support the increased housing costs in what will be a busier area with potentially even more second homes than we have at present. It needs to attract higher income jobs through home working and all the infrastructure that needs. Some of our greatest natural resources are wind and rain so to be 'sustainable', whatever that really means, will include more turbines, solar farms and forestry.
  • Posted by SCNPandAPRS May 26, 2022 at 15:36

    ‘Unfinished Business’ the 2013 publication by SCNP and APRS (see: http://scnp.org.uk/publications/) called for a cohesive National Park Strategy for Scotland and gave the historical background to the long campaign for more and better National Parks. Based on the policy context of the day and building on the 4 aims in the Act, ’Unfinished Business’ suggested 5 selection criteria for further NPs, which were: - Outstanding national significance for natural beauty, biodiversity, cultural heritage or landscape - Distinctive and coherent character - Land management patterns which demonstrate harmonious interaction between people and nature - Opportunities for appropriate small-scale quiet public enjoyment, consistent with conservation - Suitability for integrated management. These were based on the conditions set out in the National Parks (Scotland) Act and somewhat expanded in the light of experience. The ’harmonious interaction’ criterion for example is drawn from the IUCN Protected Area Management Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape). Whilst the above criteria still seem reasonable, in 2022, given the existential and interlinked crises of Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss, additional consideration should be given to an area’s potential for addressing nature recovery.
  • Posted by Prentice May 27, 2022 at 11:31

    Hi Puppet, A national park can bring in income and enhanced protection for rare or endangered wildlife found in Galloway. https://www.nationalparks.uk/app/uploads/2020/10/National-Parks-are-protected-areas-Information-sheet.pdf A national park won't just bring minimum wage jobs it can also bring higher waged jobs as well as opportunities for schools and university researchers to contribute. https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Employer=National_Park_Service_Park/Salary/Page-2 There is nothing to say that a large number of individuals will move into Galloway just because a National Park has been designated there. There is many other attractions in Galloway and these haven't led to a mass move in second home owners, at least not as one individual attraction being set up. Even if the number of second homes did increase in the area pushing up house prices there is precedents on how to tackle / limit the increase in house pricing which the local council could take. https://yorkmix.com/bold-and-brave-changes-to-prevent-second-homes-in-the-dales/
  • Posted by malcolmrdickson May 28, 2022 at 13:02

    Although each area being considered should be judged on its own merits it is difficult not to speculate that the landscapes in the Scottish Borders, very different to those of the existing Scottish NPs, and of, for instance Galloway. - have probably not previously been assessed as worthy of a Park, presumably because of the misperception that all National Parks have to look wild, craggy and devoid of human influence. That is a mistake and would rule out many of the national parks across the world. The added bonus in the Scottish Borders, is that the landscapes; the built and natural heritage; and our cultural and historical heritage, are inextricably linked, and indeed still celebrated today through all age-groups. This effectively combines aim 1 and 3 of the existing legislation. While other areas of Scotland can rightly claim that their landscapes reflect some of the human history and culture of the place, I would argue that nowhere is this more noticeable than in the Scottish Borders. The relationship between National Park aims must be considered when assessing proposals. Starting with the Iron Age, our historical narrative begins on the hilltops and spreads downwards through the ages to the fertile plains of Teviotdale and the lower Tweed. In 2017 the BBC reported on a joint universities project which had mapped all of the hillforts in the UK and Eire (see https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-40359829). This revealed that the area with the most hillforts in the British Isles is the Scottish Borders, mostly in the Southern Borders, while our neighbours in the National Park area of Northumberland have the greatest number in England, albeit only two thirds of the number found here. This is a largely unknown fact and more research, including use of non-invasive image recording, is clearly needed. The Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park has already shown, through archaeological demonstration projects, how local communities can be energised into revealing more about an area’s past (for example, see https://www.scottishbordersnationalpark.com/12-towers-of-rule/ ) From these hilltops, early humans spread into the upland grazing areas of the glens and valleys, where sheep and cattle could be raised. This pastoral life still prevailed when the Romans arrived in Britain and left an influence still visible and felt today. Contrary to popular belief the Romans had a permanent presence north of Hadrian’s Wall, albeit not as widespread as south of the wall, the very wall which followed virtually the same path as the present day Border, thus making this one of the most ancient boundaries between two countries in the world. Twenty years after Hadrian’s Wall was built the Romans extended their domain into what is now Southern Scotland, and created the Antonine Wall to supersede its predecessor. Their legacy in the Borders includes a long section of Dere Street (a Roman road between Edinburgh and York, the route of which is still largely followed by the A68) and the fort complex and associated settlement at Trimontium. This site, overlooked by the three Eildon Hills, which gave the fort its name, was occupied from about 79 AD to 184 AD and was the largest of the "outpost" forts with associated vicus (settlement) still occupied after the construction of Hadrian's Wall in the 120s AD. It was located 60 miles north of the wall in seemingly "hostile" territory. Trimontium was about three times as big as any fort on Hadrian's Wall and in the later period became the most northerly settlement of the whole Roman Empire. Trimontium is also considered of international importance as the site of one of the largest caches of Roman military objects in Britain, found in 117 pits. The tending of domesticated animals also played a part in two of the most significant developments of our Borders history. One development was the creation of four glorious medieval abbeys in Jedburgh, Kelso, Dryburgh and Melrose (all within Roxburghshire) housing monastic orders which were endowed with lands by Scottish royalty and used the grazing for sheep bred for meat and wool (thus giving rise to the woollen and textile trades) and made the monastic orders powerful and wealthy. The second, less glorious development, were the cross-Border and inter-clan raids for cattle and plunder which flourished in the almost lawless Borderlands. Those who undertook these raids were known as reivers, and some of their deeds and the efforts to protect the common lands of townspeople, are remembered in the civic festivals which involve present-day horse-riders, often referred to as the ‘common ridings’. Much of this relationship between landscapes, cultural and historical heritage is also reflected in the literature, both fiction and non-fiction, of Sir Walter Scott (the inventor of the historical novel), the Ettrick Shepherd, John Leyden of Denholm, William Wordsworth (whose only play was The Borderers), John Mackay Wilson, Alistair Moffat, as well as the visual images of a range of artists from JMW Turner to Anne Redpath (who often used the colours her father used in Tweed design) and the very fine public space statues by William Francis Beattie and Thomas J Clapperton in Hawick, Galashiels and Selkirk.
  • Posted by GallowayHoopoe May 31, 2022 at 09:37

    -Local support including by Councils -meeting high landscape and natural and cultural capital thresholds -vulnerability both socio economic and demographic -vulnerability; risks of leaving Scotland’s natural treasures unprotected -fit with existing Park portfolio, both by location and in terms of complementing the offer (eg Galloway’s ‘mountains to the sea’ experience).
  • Posted by camusfearna May 31, 2022 at 11:22

    Arguably, one of the areas that least requires to be considered for a new national park is the south of Scotland, given that it has recently (April 2020) been provided with a new dedicated enterprise organisation - South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) - as the economic and community development agency for D&G and Scottish Borders. It was established in recognition of the unique circumstances of the South of Scotland and the need for a fresh approach to drive inclusive growth across the area. A criteria therefore should be whether there already exists a dedicated economic and community organisation focused on the area in question. Further, the D&G and Scottish Borders already have in place a number of designated and protected areas for landscape and nature. A National Park in the south of Scotland would add an expensive and unnecessary additional layer of bureaucracy, complicate development planning arrangements and risk interfering with the delivery by SOSE for the region.
  • Posted by camusfearna May 31, 2022 at 11:39

    I note the suggested additional criteria by SCNP and APRS and, while they are a helpful contribution, it is unclear if it is being proposed that all of these are to be satisfied or just one or other. The criteria also seem very broad and thus potentially large tracts of Scotland could be said to satisfy one or other of the criteria. This would miss the point that there should be a key rationale for why an area is considered for national park designation under the current legislation. The existing national parks addressed fundamental issues - management of large visitor numbers to iconic Loch Lomond and The Trossachs (the park being very accessible to the majority of Scotland's population centres) and management of visitors alongside protection of the most heavily nature designated area in Scotland. Most, possibly all, of the candidate new national park areas proposed by SCNP and APRS do not have equivalent key fundamental reasons to be designated a national park, especially given other arrangements in place to identify nationally significant scenic areas, protected nature areas, areas with dedicated economic development agencies and so on. To be meaningful and effective, there needs to be a rationale why establishing a national park with the cost of a national park authority is required: and if it were to be a national park in name only, ie without any local or national governance in place and simply another landscape designation, then it wouldn't meet the tests in the current legislation and would dilute the current national park identity and concept. - Outstanding national significance for natural beauty, biodiversity, cultural heritage or landscape - Distinctive and coherent character - Land management patterns which demonstrate harmonious interaction between people and nature - Opportunities for appropriate small-scale quiet public enjoyment, consistent with conservation - Suitability for integrated management.
  • Posted by malcolmrdickson May 31, 2022 at 15:01

    "We will therefore also be considering why National Park status would improve an area's future, and the level of support for the designation from people within the area." I wholeheartedly agree with this aspiration and the need to gauge the level of local people's support. On the latter point, I think however the method of assessing support must be the same for each proposal. I suggest that Scottish Government, in further consultation with its arms length partners in Nature Scot, Historic Environment Scotland, etc devise a fair, incorruptible, transparent and simple means of assessing local support and then use that for each proposal. This must aim to reach as many residents and locally located businesses as possible.
  • Posted by MarkGibson June 01, 2022 at 15:38

    An area of outstanding national and international importance - for natural heritage - and cultural heritage A distinctive character and coherent identity An area with special needs that can be dealt with by a National Park Evidence of strong local support The proposed Galloway National Park would involve the rare and powerful combination of Gold Standard Dark Sky Park, UNESCO Biosphere and National Park designations. A powerful asset for Galloway & Southern Ayrshire as well as for Scotland as a whole
  • Posted by camusfearna June 02, 2022 at 09:04

    I suggest that inherent in the criteria in the founding legislation is the importance of there being a clear rationale, a raison d'être, underpinning the arguments for a particular area to be designated a national park which justifies all the set-up costs (including consultations, boundary studies etc) and the on-going cost of a national park authority. Identifying areas based solely or mostly on scenic value or tourism value etc are not sufficient reasons. Identifying a national park based solely on an entire local authority area, which have been previously identified for entirely different administrative and historical reasons, is an insufficient basis on which to propose an area be designated a national park. The boundaries of the two existing Scottish national parks were identified (and in the case of the Cairngorms subsequently extended) after much investigation and analysis and on a number of criteria which properly were not influenced by local authority boundaries (just as local authority boundaries play no part in identifying areas designated for nature protection such as Nature 2000 sites, Ramsar sites etc). The unique characteristics of an area and the challenges that designation as a national park are intended to help resolve need to be identified. In the case of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, part of the raison d'être was the need for additional dedicated management of very large numbers of visitors to an iconic part of Scotland (noting that only a small part of the park had previously been designated for nature protection). For the Cairngorms National Park, part of the raison d'être was the protection and dedicated management of an iconic and unique area that is heavily designated for nature protection.
  • Posted by Johnmuirtrust June 02, 2022 at 09:31

    What criteria should we use to decide where the next new National Parks in Scotland should be? • The potential for the land to be managed in an exemplary way to protect and restore our finest wild places. The park must be based on a thriving natural ecosystem. • The strength of interest and support from the local community for the area to be designated based on an appreciation of the added visitor numbers and associated economic opportunities that the designation would bring. • The number of people in Scotland who are likely to benefit from the designation – particularly from communities and sections of society currently not able to access our National Parks.
  • Posted by DiarmidHearns June 02, 2022 at 14:22

    In practice, both existing National Parks also address the cultural element of their areas. In developing the criteria for a new National Park, we should also consider putting culture alongside the environmental, social and economic values and uses.
  • Posted by slochd June 03, 2022 at 00:40

    Closer examination of the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 is helpful to understand what it actually says rather that what people think or would like it to say. There are indeed four aims. However, the first aim also includes cultural heritage which many commentators overlook in favour of nature primacy. In fact culture is defined in the Act where as natural heritage is not. Scottish Ministers are the ones to be satisfied the three conditions in S2.2 of the Act for park designation are met and this gives some room for interpretation. The special needs that an area seeking designation should demonstrate are not defined. Returning to the four aims. In S9.2 the Act states that the general purpose of a National Park authority is to ensure that the National Park aims are collectively achieved in relation to the National Park in a co-ordinated way. S9.6 does state that it appears to the authority that there is a conflict between the National Park aim set out in section 1(a) - the first aim about conservation and other National Park aims, the authority must give greater weight to the aim set out in section 1(a). However, the Act does not define 'conflict' and here views may vary on what conflict means and greater weight does does not necessarily mean overwhelming weight. Hence, collectively the other three aims could carry more weight than the first. A further key issue concerns the National Park Plan about which in S14 the Act says The Scottish Ministers, a National Park authority, a local authority and any other public body or office-holder must, in exercising functions so far as affecting a National Park, have regard to the National Park Plan. "Have regard to" places very little responsibility on other public bodies to heed the working of the National Park. National Park Authority core budgets are a drop in the ocean when compared to public sector spending that impacts upon our current National Park areas. This is huge public spending on services and activities that only should 'have regard' to Park plans and aims. Little wonder, at times, there is frustration and mixed messages. In Harris some years ago the local community voted by a large majority in favour of National Park status. yet, the move was blocked by the local authority who did not really understand the legislation and saw National Parks as another restrictive 'green' designation. This left the Minister with little choice but to reject the application. Ironically, several areas who, in the past, opposed possible designations now find themselves struggling to cope with high levels of visitor interest and demand. But they have little dedicated visitor management, poor infrastructure, limited data and a cash strapped local authority trying their best to re employ Rangers and sort the basics like toilets and footpaths. Meanwhile the two National Parks that were designated have seen significant national investment and expertise at levels that would never have occurred were they still under local government management. Internationally, there are many different National Park models. And while new parks are being successfully created other proposals are being rejected. Swiss communities rejected a proposal for a second national park on the ground that the first one had become too much of a scientific refugium. In British Columbia a proposal by Parks Canada for a 'traditional' North American style federally owned and run National Park model was rejected. In both cases the needs of people and the local economy had not been sufficiently accommodated. This consultation is focused on new national parks, but delivery will be within the existing legislation and that is the lens we have to use to examine proposals. The legislation is flexible and was designed to fit within Scotland's long established landownership and management arrangements where there are many moving parts. It wouldn't have got on the statue books if it didn't and, arguably, Donald Dewar partly used it as tool to help build consensus when the Scottish Parliament was being established. Clearly of course this flexibility means our National Parks don't satisfy everyone. Conservationists see the designation as failing nature, developers see it as constraining the economy, farmers see it as interfering, tourism sees it as a marketing brand. May be that means it is about right? Is there a case for adjusting the legislation? Probably yes, with the experience we have now accumulated. The climate and biodiversity emergencies must carry more weight but local communities and responsible land managers must also have a say in their future. Without the support of people it is difficult to see how national parks can thrive.
  • Posted by stubizz June 05, 2022 at 10:52

    Criteria include a combination of need to protect natural beauty and wildlife while opening it up for education and recreation, and a need for rural regeneration following a long period of economic decline and deprivation (as in the case of SW Scotland). My own observation after living 12 years on Dartmoor is that the towns immediately surrounding the National Park prosper. If Galloway gets a national park it would mean that Dumfries, Thornhill, Newton Stewart, Stranraer, Girvan, Maybole, Dalmellington and Sanquhar would all benefit. Whether Castle Douglas, Dalbeattie and Kirkcudbright should be constrained within the NP boundary or outside it and free to expand and develop in the normal way is a matter for careful judgement.
  • Posted by geoffreykolbe June 05, 2022 at 13:25

    The Scottish Government set out the aims of a National Park in the National Parks Act (2000): (a)to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area, (b)to promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area, (c)to promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public, and (d)to promote sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities. Of these four aims, the first is about 'conserving' what is already there by way of 'natural and cultural heritage'. This indicates that help is needed to achieve this by designating the area a National Park. So, one criteria for an area for NP status is that an identifiable cultural and or natural heritage should be at risk. The last three aims are essentially about helping the local economy of the area through 'sustainable' enterprises, the most obvious of which is tourism. This indicates that as a criteria, the local economy of the area should be at risk, and NP status would help overcome a steady decline.
  • Posted by PeterNeuberger June 05, 2022 at 13:46

    Very nice analysis geoffreykolbe! I would add that in order to conserve the cultural heritage of the area, it has to have some cultural heritage in the first place. While that unarguably the case in the proposed area for the Scottish Borders National Park (Reivers, Common-Ridings, Border ballads, etc...) I have to say it is difficult to find such a heritage in Galloway.
  • Posted by borbal June 05, 2022 at 18:20

    I can only agree with the comments above by geoffreykolbe and PeterNeuberger. Designation as a National Park is about conserving the culture and environment of an area, and helping the local community make the best of using it in a sustainable way in improving the local economy. I think the material in 'resources' on the Scottish Borders National Park website spell out in a very clear way how making that area a National Park would meet the required criteria.
  • Posted by AndrewPym June 05, 2022 at 21:25

    To become a National Park an area must have a coherent identity and be of outstanding quality in terms of both natural and cultural heritage. But it is not to create a museum or playground for visitors: it must be forward-looking. For many the National Park will be where they live and work. The social and economic needs of all communities (both in settlements and dispersed across the countryside) will remain important. The result should be a diverse economy, which must include embracing the challenges of net zero and meeting the needs of tourists. Accordingly, designation should require strong local support. Galloway is supported by all three Councils and by over 80% of the public in a 2018 survey. An important criteria is that designation should be seen as a means to help an area address problems which cannot otherwise be met. Many good objectives and policies are identified in the South of Scotland Regional Economic Plan but it is unlikely that the outcomes will be achieved in the very west of the area if it is not made a National Park. This opportunity of a new National Park should be taken to pursue the proposal for Galloway and secure a better future for everyone.
  • Posted by camusfearna June 06, 2022 at 00:35

    There seems to be no particular case made for why the acknowledged good objectives and policies identified in the South of Scotland Regional Economic Plan are unlikely to be achieved in the very west of the area if it is not made a National Park. A national park would be an additional costly layer of bureaucracy and there are a number of key issues - relationship with Scottish Planning Policy, not undermining Scotland's statutory climate change targets, not exacerbating tourism pressures and so on - that have not been addressed.
  • Posted by Barrview June 06, 2022 at 12:35

    The South of Scotland Economic Partnership has now published a follow up to its Regional Economic Plan setting out the detailed actions to achieve the Plan's target and includes the designation of National parks. They have accepted the argument that National parks can play a part in the regeneration of rural areas.
  • Posted by PeterNeuberger June 06, 2022 at 13:10

    camusfearna, why do SOSE and a National Park have to be mutually exclusive? A National Park would not 'get in the way' of SOSE doing its work no more than Scottish Borders Council gets in the way of SOSE doing its work. SOSE and NPs have different jobs and different remits. There is no reasonable argument that having an Enterprise agency in an area precludes that area from having an National Park. If that was the argument, there would not be ANY area in Scotland open to the creation of another NP, but the Scottish Government has promised a NP by the end of this Parliament anyway, so let us accept that there will be (at least one) new National Park and celebrate the fact.
  • Posted by Lgreylag June 06, 2022 at 14:49

    National Parks provide both International and UK-wide recognition which attracts inward investment and visitors but also highlights the area as an appealing place to live, work, and bring up families. The Covid legacy of home working, combined with the roll out of Superfast Broadband through the R100 programme, means that people can now enjoy the benefits of living close to nature with a much wider range of job and business opportunities than previously. They enable the recruitment of doctors, teachers, and other professionals to support the area’s communities and create much needed employment for young people. Through partnership working they can bring together, and contribute to, existing initiatives under one ‘umbrella’ providing long term support to deliver sustainable outcomes. They connect people with nature, promote understanding of its value and help to balance conflicting interests and demands on the natural environment. They are locally led. They are value for money providing a significant economic boost locally and direct financial returns at a national level from the increase in income tax take, VAT, and business rates. Growth in tourism does not just impact hospitality and retail but boosts sectors such as regional food and drink businesses, related farming enterprises and the wider economy through demand for services and trades.
  • Posted by Lgreylag June 06, 2022 at 15:12

    (The above comments are duplicated from 'The Value of National Parks' in error) The key tests for National Park Status laid down in the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000. Support of communities and relevant Local Authorities. Quality and range of landscapes, habitats and cultural heritage which add to and complement existing National Parks bringing something new to the family and with a location which would allow a combined tourism offering. Large enough and with sufficient seasonal interest to have the capacity to absorb a significant increase in visitor numbers without undue environmental pressures, subject to the provision of appropriate investment in infrastructure and public transport. An area of need where a National Park could bring a significant economic boost based on its natural and cultural assets.
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