criteria for designation

It is confusing that the consultation states - Currently, no criteria for selecting National Parks exist other than the limited statutory criteria on the face of the National Park (Scotland) Act. The criteria in the act are not limited and were closely considered and hard fought and it seems very odd that the SG would preface a consultation in this way. These criteria should form the basis for new national parks and we shouldnt easily or lazily stray beyond these to satisfy a wide range of agendas that might exist. The criteria are: (a)that the area is of outstanding national importance because of its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage, (b)that the area has a distinctive character and a coherent identity, and (c)that designating the area as a National Park would meet the special needs of the area and would be the best means of ensuring that the National Park aims are collectively achieved in relation to the area in a co-ordinated way. In looking at some of the other comments added and other proposals Im aware of, I dont think many stand up to these criteria. These criteria set a hard test precisely to retain the value and importance and purpose that NP designation bestows. I would not want to see a range of NPs emerge that simply do not merit the designation. In particular it is important to emphasise that NP designation should meet the special needs of the area. And special needs that a NP is set up to address. There are plenty of nationally important areas in Scotland but very few with the special needs a NP can address. I would strongly urge this remains the focus for NPs in Scotland and that they are not used to achieve other means for which they are not intended. Economic development is an aim of national parks however its not its sole or most important aim and it seems odd to me that a NP is proposed on these grounds in the south of scotland where a new enterprise agency and growth deal are in place to address economic needs. On the basis of the criteria, the only area in Scotland I consider merits NP designation would be GlenCoe Locahber area - nationally important with significant visitor pressure that a NP could positively address. This said its not clear that the needs in this area are particularly pressing and that current arrangements arent coping. And there was not strong support for this area being designated when it was mooted previously (although I think this was wrongly based on a local perception that a NP would stifle growth). I appreciate that this consultation is about looking at new ideas and thinking but it is important to recognise the value of the criteria that are in place and not to unnecessarily erode the status and purpose of NPs in the future. NPs are based on international protocols and legislation which are reflected in the Scottish NP legislation. These should be respected and fully recognised in what is taken forward.

Why the contribution is important

So that any new NP is designated only where it is genuinely needed and can serve its particular purpose and that they are not watered down to try and accommodate a range of agendas that NPs have never been intended to address.

by Gradient on May 31, 2022 at 12:42PM

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  • Posted by camusfearna June 01, 2022 at 13:16

    The above comments are very valid and important and should be given due weight when considering whether any additional criteria are required and, ultimately, whether an area meets the criteria to be designated a national park.
  • Posted by SY June 02, 2022 at 16:18

    The appetite to seek the creation of a new National Park in Scotland principally needs to come from within the community that would sit within its boundary. This must include the views of not only residents, but also farms, estates and other rural businesses whose livelihoods could be a negatively affected by additional regulation, the increased footfall of tourists, and detrimental changes to the natural environment that are likely to occur as a result. Primary consideration for a new National Park location should be given to those areas or regions where conservation designations covering large contiguous areas already exist. Alternatively, a marine (as opposed to coastal) National Park could be considered to reflect the diversity and value of Scotland’s land and sea. Any support or opposition for the progression of a new National Park in Scotland will possibly depend upon: • Individual considerations in relation to location, objectives, structure, and governance • The demographic structure and enthusiasm of the communities involved • The landscape appeal and potential creation of added value for communities and visitors • Confidence in the transition from aspirational objectives to delivering genuine benefits • Ultimately, the desire and willingness to make it happen, or not There should be strong requirements for any new National Park proposals to demonstrate and deliver additional benefits environmentally, socially and financially. By enabling the sustainable development of existing and new local businesses, rural communities would have the opportunity to thrive and halt the trend of established family out-bound depopulation as highlighted in Scotland’s Key Facts published in February 2021. It should also be borne in mind that all businesses are recovering from the pandemic and recent economic shocks, so any move to place further restrictions on them could be problematic for their continued recovery and sustainability. This is particularly the case in rural areas with high productivity from agriculture and forestry, and it is vital that this productivity is not stifled.
  • Posted by croftercowrie June 05, 2022 at 18:09

    Well put, SY.
  • Posted by AndrewPym June 05, 2022 at 21:34

    Gradient has missed the point that the social and economic well-being of communities is a fourth aim of Nationa;l Parks. And this is the key to the proposals being advanced for Galloway. The first three criteria are met - but the overwhelming need of the fourth is key to its bid.
  • Posted by camusfearna June 05, 2022 at 23:24

    I disagree that the Galloway proposal meets the first three criteria; and D&G and the Borders have recently been provided with a dedicated economic development agency - SOSE - which at least should be given time to bed in and deliver over the next few years before any consideration is given to the Borders or D&G being designated a national park. Those advocating for D&G and the Borders also have not addressed the issue that NP designation of an area with windfarms does not comply with Scottish Planning Policy and if D&G and/or the Borders were to be considered for designation this would risk undermining Scotland's chances of meeting its statutory climate change targets by preventing a large tract of south Scotland being considered for some of the additional onshore renewables that the government is committed to deploying as part of its climate change ambitions.
  • Posted by Gradient June 06, 2022 at 13:25

    Hi Andrew, I disagree that the first three criteria have been met - especially the aim I highlight on having special needs that a NP will meet. And to note that aims are not designation criteria, the designation criteria are. I strongly echo camusfearna that the south has an enterprise agency and a growth deal to come, which will address many of the reasons that are being put forward for a NP to be designated in the south of Scotland, esp on social and economic well being. Remember that SOSE explicitly has a role in social as well as economic development. The fourth aim is valid but in the context of the three other aims - to be achieved collectively - and bear in mind the primacy of the first aim in situations of conflict. NPs are not economic development agencies and we shouldnt be trying to shape them that way.
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