THE long-running campaign to have Galloway designated as Scotland’s next national park will take a huge stride forward next month.
Following a drawn-out consultation process, the Scottish Government has now set a deadline of February 29 for nominations to be formally submitted.
Next week, Dumfries and Galloway councillors will be asked to show their support once again for The Galloway National Park Association’s bid to see the Galloway area of south-west Scotland gaining the lauded park status. The organisation previously produced a report last year which claimed that this could add up to 500,000 new visits a year to the region, boosting the local economy by up to £60 million and creating as many as 1400 jobs.
The matter will be discussed at the council’s economy and resources committee next Tuesday. A report produced for the meeting reads: “The Galloway National Park Association have been campaigning for a new national park to be designated in the Galloway area of south-west Scotland since 2016.
“Following the publication of the Scottish Government’s nomination process, the association have been preparing a nomination to be submitted by the deadline of February 29.
“The association have approached Dumfries and Galloway Council, alongside East Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council, to consider their proposed nomination and have specifically asked for an indication of support from each of the councils.”
Nominations are to be submitted via a form which answers seven questions. These include, “why is the area of outstanding national importance due to its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage?”, and “why does the size, character and identity of the area warrant designation as a national park?”
After all submissions have been received and the deadline passes, the Scottish Government, through NatureScot, will begin the assessment process,
The council report states: “Following the initial assessment undertaken by NatureScot, the Scottish Government will be able to provide clarity on the application strength, suitability and whether the nomination is successful. This is likely to be within early 2024.
“If the Galloway National Park Association submission is successful, the Scottish Government will appoint NatureScot and the Scottish Government reporter’s unit to start more formal consultations aligned with the development of a new national park.
“These formal consultations will provide further engagement with key stakeholders, communities and public bodies to provide more detailed engagement around the national park framework and proposals in order to assist in the final design of any new national park.”
Photo by C Hattersley