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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West

PROPOSALS for a national park in Galloway were revealed to councillors this week.

Members of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s economy, environment and infrastructure committee heard progress on plans to bring together the National Scenic Areas (NSAs) of Galloway Forest Park and Galloway Dark Sky Park and the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere.
The move comes three years after Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP) produced a report entitled ‘Unfinished Business – A National Parks Strategy for Scotland’ which outlined areas which would be appropriate to be designated as a National Park.
The local authority was approached last year by the SCNP and the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS) in order to gauge whether the formation of a National Park would be beneficial and a report was then produced.
Committee chairman Colin Smyth described the prospect as truly exciting but not without hurdles.
He said: “We need to change the current Scottish Government’s position, which is to maintain Scotland’s existing national parks rather than develop new parks.
“To achieve that we need to develop a clear, powerful case for a Galloway National Park that comes from the community and shows support from key stakeholders.”
Engagement work will be required to determine the nature of the National Park, its governance, geographic boundaries and resources.
Mr Smyth added: “The prize at the end could be tremendous, from a major boost in tourism to new powers to protect the natural beauty of Galloway.
” Scotland’s two existing national parks are further north, so it would seem only right that the South of Scotland is considered next.”

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