Panoramic views: Have your say on setting up Scotland’s newest national parks
You don’t have to decide just yet, but views are being sought on the role of national parks and how nominations for new ones could be evaluated.
There are 15 national parks dotted across the UK, but just two are in Scotland.
Both were created about 20 years ago – Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, set up in 2002, was the first, with Cairngorms, the nation’s largest, established a year later.
Now, in response to calls from communities, conservationists and tourism groups, Scottish ministers have committed to establishing “at least one” new national park by spring 2026.
And they need some help.People are being asked to give their views on how a new park should protect and restore nature, tackle climate change and promote sustainable land use.
It follows the Future for National Parks in Scotland online discussion, held earlier this year.
Campaigners – including the likes of the National Trust for Scotland, Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland and Scottish Campaign for National Parks – say national park status brings multiple benefits for society, the economy and the environment.
Tourism bosses have also suggested new national parks can spread the load of tourism across Scotland, reducing pressure on the most popular places and boosting visitors to less-travelled areas.
NatureScot is leading the consultation, which is open for submissions until 30 November.
“National Parks are special places valued by the nation,” according to Francesca Osowska, the agency’s chief executive.
She says creating a new park will “drive the transformation needed to tackle the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change”.
The plans have been welcomed by environmentalists, who are urging people to respond to the consultation.
Steve Micklewright, convener of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and chief executive of the charity Trees for Life, said it offers “a golden opportunity to place nature recovery and rewilding front and centre” while promoting green jobs.
“Now is not the time to be timid,” he said.
“Our national parks need to be inspiring trailblazers that show how people and nature can flourish together.”
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