The value of National Parks

National Parks are valued for different things by different people. We want to know what you value most. This information will help shape the aims and functions of any new National Parks and will also be used to guide development of our existing National Parks.

Why the contribution is important

It is important for us to know what is most valued about our National Parks so that we can ensure these things are central to future planning.

by ScottishGovernment on May 10, 2022 at 12:27PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 2.5
Based on: 2 votes


  • Posted by SCNPandAPRS May 26, 2022 at 14:24

    National Parks signal the presence of outstanding landscapes, which constitute a key element of the nation’s “natural capital” and which it is committed to preserving and where possible enhancing for the benefit of future generations and to making accessible to all. They should also be seen as “greenprints”: places where environmentally sustainable approaches to land use and development can be trialled and demonstrated, with a view to their society-wide adoption. National Parks provide a clear focus on a particular place and its landscape, with mechanisms to stimulate and co-ordinate positive action towards its conservation management and additional resources to reflect its importance to the nation. Scottish National Parks benefit from an agreed plan (National Park Plan) designed to safeguard the area’s special qualities for future generations whilst managing competing pressures such as tourism, transport, energy, agriculture, forestry and fishing in integrated and sustainable ways. National Parks bring a range of environmental, social and economic benefits that SCNP and APRS have detailed in our various reports including Unfinished Business 2013, The Socio-economic Benefits of New National Park Designations in Scotland 2015, Tourism and Future National Parks in Scotland 2016, Volunteering and National Parks in Scotland 2016 (all available at National Parks allow for the prioritisation of landscape, biodiversity and visitor management to allow recreation and tourism to be enjoyed without damaging the environment and with benefits to local communities. Section 9(6) of the National Parks Scotland Act 2000 sets out a version of the “Sandford Principle” saying “In exercising its function a National Park Authority must act with a view to accomplishing the purpose set out in subsection (1); but if in relation to any matter, it appears to the authority that there is a conflict between the National Park aim set out in section 1(a) and other National Park aims, the authority must give greater weight to the aim set out in section 1(a).” The aim set out in section 1(a) is to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area. This means that if there is a conflict between this aim and the other three relating to resource use, understanding and enjoyment and economic and social development, the NPA must give greater weight to the conservation aim. The “greater weight” formulation is arguably too weak, as it does not explicitly make the conservation aim pre-eminent and require that it be accorded priority in decision-making. Both existing Park Authorities have been criticised in the past for not doing so, particularly in relation to development management decisions taken under the town and country planning system. Perhaps even more critically, Section 9(6) only applies to the NPA, not to other executive agencies or public bodies, yet the policies and activities of all of these can have significant impacts on the natural and cultural heritage of the Park area. The primacy of the first National Park aim should apply to all executive agencies and public bodies operating within National Parks, or where their operations impact on National Parks, to ensure that the natural and cultural heritage qualities of the National Parks are not eroded.
  • Posted by Nightjar12 May 29, 2022 at 16:19

    National Parks are important to me if they protect and encourage biodiversity in a sustainable way
  • Posted by GallowayHoopoe May 31, 2022 at 09:09

    National Parks -provide international recognition -attract inward investment -boost tourism, hospitality, retail and other sectors -Provide a forum for local input into decision making -give access to funds and attract interest in projects which increase biodiversity -could be used to address local climate change policies -give communities confidence in their locality and it’s worth -help to retain young people -provide a framework for balancing the interests of the environment against other concerns where there is conflict -provide a base for expanding and managing responsible access to the countryside
  • Posted by amelia111 June 01, 2022 at 13:12

    National parks must protect and conserve nature and biodiversity, whilst promoting connections between people, wildlife and nature. They must be places highly protected from damage through developments or tourism, whilst also engaging with local communities who can take pride in the area.
  • Posted by MarkGibson June 01, 2022 at 15:28

    Can focus on protecting and enhancing the natural environment Can promote sustainable development to ensure that communities thrive without damage to the natural environment Raise the profile of an area both for tourism and inward investment Promote a sense of place Are directly accountable to the local community Attract compatible businesses and create badly needed employment opportunities for young people
  • Posted by Johnmuirtrust June 02, 2022 at 09:26

    What do we value most about Scotland's National Parks? We value that • They protect some of our most precious and special wild places. • They provide beautiful places for people to live and work and sustainable economic opportunities for local communities to thrive. • They provide recreational and outdoor learning opportunities to enable all to access and enjoy the natural environment.
  • Posted by scottishwildlandgroup June 04, 2022 at 15:29

    The value of national parks is the protection they should provide for nature and the natural landscapes therein. Skilful planning and administration can achieve much more without threatening the above.
  • Posted by Lgreylag June 06, 2022 at 14:52

    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.
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