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National Park consultation starts

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By Fiona Reid
Farming
National Park consultation starts

CAMPAIGNERS trying to get a National Park in Galloway have welcomed the start of a consultation.

And they are calling on the public and stakeholders to make their voices heard and help swing it for the area, which they say is the ‘natural choice’.

The Scottish Government has announced the consultation on the location of the country’s next National Park and want views from across the country.

Rob Lucas, chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), pictured said: “This is a truly significant moment, we have been campaigning for years for a the consultation process to begin.

“Public support and the views of stakeholders will be an important factor in decisions about a new National Park – and there is tremendous enthusiasm for a park in Galloway.

“There is backing from the public, from businesses and from councillors across the area that could be within the boundaries of a Galloway National Park.

“We hope that as many people as possible will get involved and make their voices heard.”

The outcome of the consultation will provide the Scottish Government with advice on the framework they should adopt for evaluating the best location for the promised new National Park.

Ministers will then approve the framework and carry out further consultation on proposed candidate areas for National Park status. The key issues are:

  1. What do you value most about Scotland’s National Parks?
  2. How can National Parks help the environment?
  3. How can we better manage visitor pressures in National Parks?
  1. What criteria should we use to decide where the next National Parks in Scotland should be?

GNPA believes that the emphasis on managing visitor pressures, enhancing the environment and the criteria for deciding on a location are a good basis for moving forward.

They say that Galloway has ample capacity for additional tourism and every opportunity to ensure that it develops sustainably and is well managed – whereas some parts of Scotland are already overburdened.

It also has a unique mix of rolling farmland, low hills, wild moors, mountains and coastline – adding real diversity to Scotland’s family of National Parks.

The region is also accessible to many people who are not currently in reach of a National Park – offering them many fresh opportunities for leisure activities and enhanced wellbeing.

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