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Article published 13/05/2022

Public encouraged to take part in consultation

Communities, groups and individuals are being invited to share their views in a consultation on the creation of Scotland’s first new National Parks in almost 20 years.

The Scottish Government committed to establish at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this Parliamentary session in 2026, as part of the Bute House agreement with the Scottish Green Party and the Programme for Government.

The public consultation is looking at what people value about Scottish National Parks, and what these areas should deliver in future – in particular, how they can help to protect and restore nature, tackle climate change and promote sustainable land use.

This will be followed by a longer period during which communities, local government and organisations will be encouraged and supported to develop proposals for new Parks.

Read and take part in the consultation on the Scottish Government website.

National Park status

The Scottish Government is aware of at least 10 communities or groups which have in the recent past expressed interest in National Park status, so some means of evaluating between areas will be required to identify the candidate areas to be progressed initially.

Currently, no criteria for selecting National Parks exist other than the limited statutory criteria on the face of the National Park (Scotland) Act.

NatureScot has been asked to lead a further initial phase of work to provide advice on this framework to Scottish Ministers by the end of October.

This will include engaging with a range of stakeholders in developing its advice and will formally consult on proposals and evaluation framework at the end of the summer period.

Ministers will then approve the framework and carry out further consultation on proposed candidates areas for National Park status.

Scotland’s first National Parks

It's been almost 20 years since Scotland’s first National Parks in Loch Lomond and Trossachs and Cairngorms were established. 

Both National Parks are home to some of Scotland’s most outstanding scenery, are internationally important areas for nature and receive millions of visitors each year. 

The Parks work closely with their communities, land managers, local businesses, third sector and individuals to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis, to help manage facilities for visitors, to promote responsible access, develop sustainable communities and ensure sustainable development.

The current Programme for Government contains a commitment to establish at least one new National Park in Scotland by spring 2026.

Take part in the consultation on the Scottish Government website.

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