The appraisal of nominations for new National Park(s) will be based on:
- The nomination form which all areas wishing to submit a nomination for National Park status will be asked to complete by the deadline.
- The appraisal framework that will be used to assess proposals.
- All sections of the nomination form must be completed.
- Maximum word counts for each of the sections of the nominations form have been included in the appraisal framework and should be adhered to.
- While groups collaborating to combine resources/knowledge is to be encouraged, all nominations will be considered as part of the appraisal process.
- A clear message from the public consultation was the need to ensure the nomination process is clear, simple and as open as possible. As a result, there is no requirement to provide detailed plans about what a National Park would seek to do in a particular area beyond the information that is requested in the nomination form. A more detailed consideration of the role, powers and functions of a National Park proposal would form part of the reporter investigation if a nomination is taken forward for designation.
- Where required, Scottish Government officials may contact nominating groups during the appraisal phase where information is required to support the appraisal of nominations.
- To ensure transparency and fairness, any questions or clarifications submitted to the Scottish Government during the nomination window will be made available publicly along with the response provided.
- The table below sets out the questions being asked of nominating groups. This includes guidance on the information and level of detail required at this stage.
- Nominations must be submitted using the Nominations Form (Annex A).
4.1 Guidance notes for areas submitting nominations for new National Park status
1. What is the area being nominated for National Park designation?
Provide a name and simple written description of the potential area (or options for the area) including its approximate size and its main settlements. A map image can also be provided for this section to support this.
Include what local authority area(s) the nomination is within.
Maximum word count: 500 words
2. Why does the area nominated merit National Park status?
Provide a non-technical description of what is special about the area, why it merits designation as a National Park and how National Park status would help to meet the special needs of the area.
Your description should explain how the area meets the conditions for National Parks as set out in the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000:
- That the area is of outstanding national importance because of its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage
- That the area has a distinctive character and coherent identity
- That designating the area as a National Park would meet the special needs of the area and would be the best means of ensuring that the National Park aims are collectively achieved in relation to the area in a coordinated way
Maximum word count: 2000 words
3. What difference would designation as a National Park make for both nature and people? What is the strategic contribution that a National Park in this area could make?
Outline the benefits and added value that could be achieved by the area becoming a National Park, describing the opportunities for nature recovery, climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable and progressive land use and support to the area's communities in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible. These could include:
- complementing and adding to the strategic contribution of Scotland's existing National Parks;
- positive action for the restoration and regeneration of biodiversity and the protection of vulnerable and important species;
- reducing carbon emissions and adapting to the effects of climate change;
- encouraging nature-friendly farming, forestry and marine use;
- generating inward investment in the area's natural capital and the growth of green skills and jobs; and
- supporting the development of a green wellbeing economy.
Maximum word count: 3000 words
4. How would designating the area as a National Park support visitor management and the area's offer for education, recreation and enjoyment by all of Scotland's people?
Outline the benefits, opportunities and challenges including:
- Opportunities for enjoyment, recreation and understanding of the area's natural and cultural heritage;
- How National Park designation could support visitor management in the area;
- How National Park designation could support current and potential future transport infrastructure in the area;
- How National Park designation could support access to nature for Scotland's people.
Maximum word count: 2000 words
5. Who has been involved in the development of this nomination?
Provide the name of the lead person, group or organisation in the nominated area, including contact details.
Provide a list of who has been involved in developing the nomination (e.g. local landowners and managers, businesses, community representatives, young people and seldom heard groups as well as any support from local authorities and public bodies). Provide a summary of the issues and opportunities that have been raised. Personal details must only be shared where the individual has granted permission to do so in line with data protection processes.
Provide details of any local community engagement activities undertaken to discuss, consider or measure/gain support for the nomination and any evidence of local/stakeholder support for the nomination where available.
Where applicable, details of any surveys or assessment of local support undertaken should also be provided here. This should not include any respondents' personal information.
Any conflicts of interest that nominating groups are aware of should also be declared with supporting information/evidence.
Maximum word count: 2000 words
Further material including simple maps, photographs, a list of relevant protected area designations and quantitative data can be included in separate annexes if this is considered relevant to the nomination.
Any additional information provided should be clearly linked to one of the four questions above.
4.2 Appraisal Framework
The table below outlines the broad criteria against which nominations will be appraised, which will support the selection of National Park proposals to be taken forward for designation.
1. Outstanding national importance
Is the area of outstanding national importance because of its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage?
- Is the proposed area of outstanding national importance due to its natural heritage, including its biodiversity, geodiversity and landscapes?
- Is the proposed area of outstanding national importance due to its cultural heritage and historic environment?
2. Size, character and coherence
Does the area have a distinctive character and a coherent identity? Is the proposed area of a sufficient size to justify integrated management as a National Park?
- Does the proposed area have a distinctive character and coherent identity?
- Is the proposed area of a sufficient size to warrant integrated management as a National Park?
3. Special needs of the area
How would designating the area as a National Park meet the special needs of the area? What difference would National Park designation make to the area for nature restoration, cultural heritage, sustainable use of natural resources, public enjoyment and sustainable communities?
- How would National Park designation support the conservation and enhancement of cultural heritage and the historic environment?
- How would National Park designation support nature recovery and restoration in the area, including ecosystem restoration, protection and recovery of vulnerable and important species and wildlife management?
- How would National Park designation help to promote the understanding and enjoyment of the area by Scotland's people?
- How would National Park designation support the sustainable development and well-being of local communities?
- How would National Park designation support the sustainable use of the area's natural resources and how it would make a significant contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation?
4. Visitor management and experience
How would designating the area as a National Park support visitor management and the area's offer for education, recreation and enjoyment by all of Scotland's people?
- How would National Park designation enhance opportunities for enjoyment, recreation and understanding of the area's natural and cultural heritage?
- How would National Park designation support visitor management in the area?
- How could National Park designation support current and potential future transport infrastructure in and around the proposed area?
- How could National Park designation support access to nature for Scotland's people?
5. Added value
Why is the investment required to create and operate a new National Park for this area justified?
- How would the benefits of designating a National Park in the area justify the investment required?
- What is the added value that National Park designation would bring to the area?
6. Local support
Is there sufficient evidence of local support for this proposal?
- What level of local support (with evidence) is there from local interests (community bodies, landowners and managers, businesses, third sector organisations, public bodies etc.)
- What level of support (with evidence) is there from the local authority/authorities in the area?
7. Strategic contribution
Would the designation of the area bring benefits to Scotland as a whole and contribute to strategic priorities including nature restoration, climate action, green investment, skills and jobs and nature friendly farming?
- How could National Park designation support the area's leadership on climate change mitigation and adaptation in a way that is fair and inclusive for local communities?
- How could National Park designation support the area's contribution to commitments within the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, including ecosystem restoration, protection and recovery of vulnerable species, wildlife management, nature friendly farming, the expansion of areas that are protected for nature and the development of nature networks?
- How could designation as a National Park support sustainable investment in the area's natural capital?
- How could designation as a National Park support the development of green skills and jobs in the area?
- How could designation as a National Park complement the contribution that Scotland's existing National Parks make to tackling the nature and biodiversity crises?
4.3 Appraisal Process
The appraisal framework will be used to help assess nominations for new National Parks.
Once finalised, the appraisal framework will include details of how each criterion will be scored. The final appraisal framework will be published ahead of nominations opening.
Following the appraisal of all nominations received, a summary report will be produced. This report will inform advice to Scottish Ministers on the area or areas to be progressed as National Park proposals, subject to legal conditions being met.
Where nominations do not succeed in being proposed for National Park designation, the Scottish Government may seek to contact nominating groups to discuss the contents of their nomination and any viable alternative options, particularly where there is the potential for nominating groups to make a significant contribution to nature restoration and climate change mitigation in their areas.
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