"It is 20 years since Scotland's first National Parks in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms were established. Both are home to some of the country's most outstanding scenery, are internationally important areas for nature and receive millions of visitors each year. They work hard to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis, help manage facilities for visitors, promote responsible access and develop sustainable communities. They have become jewels in Scotland's crown, and now is the time to add to them" Lorna Slater, Biodiversity Minister
Scotland's National Parks are more important now than ever before. Working with partners and their local communities, amongst other things, they can:
- be exemplars in their work to protect and restore nature at scale;
- develop and test nature based solutions;
- restore peatland, rivers and wetlands and expand woodland;
- reduce carbon emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change in a way that is fair and inclusive to those living and working in their areas;
- encourage nature-friendly farming, forestry and coastal and marine use;
- support sustainable tourism and visitor management;
- create new employment opportunities and support sustainable growth of the local economy; and
- help to generate and channel inward investment in the area's precious natural resources.
The Scottish Government has committed to designating at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this parliamentary session in 2026. This is contingent on relevant legal conditions being met, including compatibility with the application of other regulatory frameworks in place or planned for the area.
As set out in the Bute House Agreement, Scottish Ministers will only designate new National Parks in response to local community demand. They recognise that National Parks should bring positive benefits to our environment and economy by supporting progressive development. This will help to address the climate emergency and improve public and community wellbeing.
An open and public invitation for expressions of interest in new National Parks was launched in May 2023. Communities and organisations that wish to put their area forward for designation as a National Park are now invited to develop and submit their 'nomination'.
To ensure an open and transparent process, nominations for National Park status will be appraised based on the criteria set out in the Appraisal Framework. This will be used to support the selection of the area(s) to be taken forward as National Park proposal(s).
This guidance has been produced to support communities and organisations ('nominating groups') that wish to develop and submit proposals for a new National Park designation.
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