A SOUTH Scotland MSP has offered up parliamentary support to a group fighting to create Scotland’s third national park in the region.
Emma Harper met online with trustees of the Galloway National Park Association earlier this month to discuss their vision to have Galloway granted national park status, a move they say will bring environmental protection and an economic boost to the area.
In the meeting Ms Harper said she would raise questions in the Scottish Parliament with Minister for Rural Affairs, Mairi Gougeon, who has previously expressed her support.
She also offered to raise a motion in parliament highlighting the work of the Galloway National Park Association and call for a debate on the group’s proposals in Holyrood’s debating chamber.
The MSP said: “I’m delighted to have met with the trustees of the Galloway National Park this week and I support their bid for identifying the opportunities around national park status for Galloway. National Parks can offer many benefits including economic development and environmental protections and can increase the quality of life for communities as well as attract additional tourism which I understand the trust’s own study suggests.
“Our discussion was useful and I look forward to meeting with the Galloway National Park trustees again in the new year and to supporting their voice in Holyrood regarding this opportunity to support and sustaining the rural economy.”
Dame Barbara Kelly, president of the Galloway National Park Association added: “We had a positive and wide-ranging discussion with Emma Harper MSP and welcome the support she has offered to this community led campaign in raising our case in the Scottish Parliament and with Ministers. This is a really encouraging next step towards Galloway becoming Scotland’s Third National Park.
“Galloway is facing many challenges and really needs the boost that a National Park would bring. The wonderful environment and magnificent scenery are one of Scotland’s best kept secrets. Given the degree of poverty in the South West, the higher profile that National Park status would bring to the area could help our businesses and communities move on from this pandemic and create new and sustained opportunities for our young people to find work nearer to home.”