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Mixed support for national park plan

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By Newsdesk
Mixed support for national park plan

FARMERS in parts of the region have been showing their support for the Galloway National Park proposal.

But others say there has not yet been enough information about the impact of the plan.

Robert McTurk, pictured, who has a farm above Loch Ken near St John’s Town of Dalry, is one of the supporters. He said: “As a hill farmer I would welcome a national park. I think hill sheep and cattle farmed in a sustainable way, on the hillsides where they have grazed for centuries, would be valued by visitors and anyone involved in the park’s governance.

“The value of grazing hill ground in terms of carbon capture has not yet been fully recognised and would compete with the planting of trees.

“I hope that a national park in Galloway would create a balance – and point the way forward.”

Christopher Nicholson, who farms near from Whithorn, is another and added: “There are many farmers in the south west who are supportive of proposals for a Galloway National Park.

“Farmers throughout the area are increasingly looking to diversify incomes to secure their long-term future, and the majority of these farm diversifications rely on increasing tourism and visitor numbers; a national park is a well-recognised brand which would clearly help to sell Galloway as a destination.”

However, farming leaders locally still have some reservations: Dumfries and Galloway NFUS regional chairman Colin Ferguson explained that many people want to see more evidence about the benefits of such a development.

He said there are concerns about “additional unnecessary restrictions and bureaucracy” and added: “Without such information being, NFU Scotland could not be informed nor persuaded as to the merits of a national park and how it would benefit the region’s agricultural industry in terms of development aims.”


Photo by Colin Hattersley

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