The Scottish Government has committed to designating at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this Parliamentary session in 2026. As Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity, I am delighted to be consulting with you on how nominations for new National Parks should be appraised.
It is 20 years since Scotland's first two National Parks were created. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms are home to some of our most iconic scenery, outstanding nature and magnificent landscapes. They each work hard to preserve, restore and promote our natural and cultural heritage. They promote responsible access to nature and they support the development of sustainable communities whilst attracting millions of visitors annually. It is clear that they have become jewels in Scotland's crown and now is the time to add to them.
Last year we consulted widely on the future of National Parks in Scotland and I am very grateful to everyone who took part in that process. Thank you for sharing your views, insights and ideas. These consultations have shown that many people want to see new National Parks in Scotland. They have also highlighted the important leadership role of our National Parks in tackling the interlinked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, whilst also welcoming visitors and supporting local communities and businesses.
This Autumn we will launch the nominations process for new National Parks. I am delighted that several areas have put themselves forward as candidates for National Park status and I hope that we will receive nominations from across Scotland. In order to determine the area or areas to be taken forward for designation, we have developed a draft appraisal framework with proposed criteria for new National Parks in Scotland.
We want to ensure that the nominations and appraisal process is open, fair and transparent. That is why we are presenting the appraisal framework in draft, so that you have an opportunity to give us your views and feedback before it is finalised.
I would encourage everyone to participate in this consultation to ensure your views are heard. Your responses will help us to refine the broad criteria and finalise the appraisal framework, paving the way for this historic expansion of Scotland's National Parks.
Lorna Slater MSP
Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity
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