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National Park bid underway

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
National Park bid underway

CAMPAIGNERS in Galloway this week registered an interest with the Scottish Government in the area becoming Scotland’s next National Park.

They claim it is the ‘natural choice’ and say their bid has strong public, political and business support.

Scottish Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater yesterday unveiled a public consultation on the criteria to decide whether an area could become a National Park.

And she announced that organisations could now register an interest in having their area considered for the status.

Within minutes of her statement, the Galloway National Park Association (GPNA) registered the region’s interest.

Chairman Rob Lucas, above, said: “We welcome today’s announcement and immediately registered our interest in becoming home to Scotland’s third National Park.

“This is a goal we have been working towards for five years. Galloway’s amazing mix of moors, mountains, rolling farmlands and rugged coastlines makes it the ideal choice.

“What’s more there is strong backing from the public, from business and politicians of all parties – which is vital in ensuring the success of any new National Park.”

Outlining the case for Galloway further, he said it would bring lasting and widespread benefits by generating sustainable tourism; creating business opportunities and jobs; providing a global marketing brand; attracting millions of pounds a year in investment and income; making space for nature to recover and flourish; improving health and wellbeing; offering opportunities for leisure and outdoor activities; and encouraging young people and families to remain or return to the region.

GNPA also believes that Galloway is the best place for Scotland’s next National Park because it has a unique mix of rolling farmland, low hills, wild moors, mountains and coastline – adding real diversity to Scotland’s family of National Parks.

Mr Lucas added: “Unlike some parts of Scotland, there is ample opportunity, and need, for an increase in sustainable tourism.

“Extensive public and business support for a Galloway National Park shows that the region is ready and eager to seize the opportunities it would bring.”

The government framework has opened for early expressions of interest and formal nominations will officially open later this year.

A new National Park will be designated by spring 2026.

Lorna Slater said: “I look forward to engaging with communities and learning more about their proposals, and I encourage everyone to get involved as we move closer to naming Scotland’s next national park.”

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