New National Park consultation results published
The current Programme for Government contains a commitment to establish at least one new National Park in Scotland by Spring 2026.
Before a decision can be made about a new park location, the Scottish Government need to be able to assess any area which is put forward for designation against a set of agreed expectations for what National Parks will deliver for Scotland going forward.
To assist with this, a 'Challenge' exercise was created on the Scottish Government's public dialogue platform (www.ideas.gov.scot). This platform allows users to participate in debates and discussions about areas of government policy and challenges facing Scotland.
The 'Future for National Parks in Scotland' challenge sought views on what National Parks should be delivering for Scotland and the people who live and work within them. Whilst the challenge did not aim to seek views on the location of new National Parks, it did seek views on the criteria that are necessary to selection the next National Parks in Scotland. The following questions were raised:
- What do you value most about Scotland's National Parks?
- How can National Parks help the environment?
- How can we better manage visitor pressures in National Parks?
- What criteria should we use to decide where the next new National Parks in Scotland should be?
The challenge was open for ideas and comments between 16 May and 6 June 2022 and the responses to the consultation have now been published.
Commenting on the publication of responses, Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said:
“Last year we consulted widely on the future of National Parks in Scotland, and I am hugely grateful to everyone who took part. Thank you for sharing your views, insights and ideas about the role of our National Parks, now and in the future.
“I’m delighted has demonstrated that many people want to see new National Parks in Scotland and support our commitment to designate at least one new park by 2026.
“It has also shown that people in Scotland think our National Parks have a very important role to play in tackling the biodiversity and climate crises, whilst also supporting local communities, businesses and visitors.
“I want to ensure our existing and new National Parks have the ability to do even more for nature restoration and climate change mitigation in a way that is fair and inclusive.
“We will give thorough consideration to the advice received from NatureScot and the views expressed by consultees. In the spring we will publish a draft evaluation framework to help with the selection of new National Parks, before opening the nominations process for new parks later this year.”