• 37 individual candidates have now pledged their backing
  • Parties and candidates give their reasons for support

The number of council candidates supporting moves towards the creation of a Galloway National Park has continued to grow ahead of Thursday’s election.

Just as importantly, many have been enthusiastic about the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA) proposal that Dumfries and Galloway Council should set up a working group to push the proposal forward.

Rob Lucas, Chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), said: “We have been quite overwhelmed not just by the sheer number of election candidates who’ve been coming forward to voice their support, but with the tremendous enthusiasm so many have shown.

“It’s an issue that many of them have thought about deeply and feel will bring enormous benefits to our region. Some have emphasised the business, leisure and tourism opportunities while for others the key issues are to do with the environment, health, wellbeing and climate change.

“As soon as the election is over we will start discussions with councillors about making practical progress towards our common goal of making sure that the new National Park that has been promised by the Scottish Government is in Galloway.”

By 1 May the number of candidates contacting GNPA to say they supported moves towards the creation of a Galloway National Park, including a full feasibility study, had reached 37.

Among them are candidates from South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire, which have areas that could come within the park boundaries, as well as Dumfries and Galloway.

Among them are Conservatives, the D&G Socialist Group, Greens, independents, Lib Dems, Scottish Labour and SNP.

Mr Lucas added: “The support we’ve received makes us hugely optimistic for the future. Their comments have included that the benefits would be ‘colossal’ that it should be a ‘gold standard’ national park and that it is a ‘wonderful opportunity to protect an area rich in cultural heritage’.”

The list of candidates who have contacted us is at https://www.gallowaynationalpark.org/support.

Wider support for a Galloway National Park 

GNPA helped persuade all the parties now represented in the Scottish Parliament to back the idea of new National Parks for Scotland – and the Scottish Government has agreed to create at least one by the end of its term in office.

These is strong public and business backing for it to be in Galloway as it will bring lasting and widespread benefits by:

  • Making the most of our fabulous countryside and coastlines
  • Generating sustainable tourism
  • Creating business opportunities and jobs
  • Providing a marketing brand that will put us on a world stage
  • Attracting millions of pounds a year in investment and income
  • Combatting climate change and enhancing environmental protection
  • Improving health and wellbeing 
  • Offering opportunities for leisure and outdoor activities
  • Encouraging young people to remain or return to the region.

GNPA also believes that Galloway is the best place for Scotland’s next National Park because:

  • It has a unique mix of rolling farmland, low hills, wild moors, mountains and coastline – adding real diversity to Scotland’s family of National Parks.
  • Unlike some parts of Scotland there is ample opportunity, and need, for an increase in sustainable tourism.
  • It offers easy access to wonderful countryside for all ages and abilities, including economically deprived communities across south-west Scotland.
  • Extensive public and business support for a Galloway National Park shows that the region is ready and eager to seize the opportunities it would bring.

The scale of regional support shone through when the region took 50.3% of the votes in an online poll by The Scots Magazine. This was more than all the other potential locations – Ben Nevis, Glen Affric, Argyll, Wester Ross, Harris, Borders – combined.


Note to Editors

About the National Park proposal

A National Park for Galloway would promote and conserve some of Scotland’s most magnificent landscapes. It would attract visitors and allow a fragile rural economy to rebuild and thrive whilst helping Scotland tackle its biodiversity and climate change challenges.

Creating the park would go a long way to meeting the country’s commitment to protect at least 30% of its land for nature by 2030. The suggested boundaries would extend from Dumfries & Galloway into South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire. This area not only meets the criteria set out in the National Parks (Scotland) Act, but our research shows there is widespread enthusiasm for the idea.

Galloway National Park Association has had conversations with almost 2,000 people at over 100 meetings and events across the area. The resounding feedback is that Galloway wants a National Park.

  • Our questionnaire showed that 84% of respondents are in favour of a National Park.
  • The need for a National Park has increased since we started work – Galloway continues to fall further behind the rest of Scotland in economic terms.
  • Galloway’s dispersed rural population presents additional challenges but the long-term security of being a National Park is seen by many communities and businesses as a catalyst for their development.
  • COVID continues to have a huge impact on the area: National Park status will help to redress this.
  • The 2020 and 2021 holiday seasons showed a clear need for more resources to help manage tourists and ensure a high-quality experience for visitors and locals alike.
  • The national and international recognition that a National Park would bring to people to Galloway would help drive a green recovery across many sectors and attract people to live and work in the area.

About GNPA

Galloway National Park Association is a community-based group with trustees from across the region. We started work in 2017 and have over 800 members. Our objects are:

  1. To promote the protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural assets of the area for public benefit.
  2. To promote, undertake and publish research into issues affecting conservation and enjoyment of the natural and cultural heritage of the area and to identify how this may be furthered through the designation of a National Park.
  3. To advance public education in and understanding of how a National Park could contribute to improving health and wellbeing through the enjoyment, understanding or enhancement of the area’s natural and cultural asset”.

Rob Lucas is the association’s Chair and Sandra McDowall the Vice Chair. Dame Barbara Kelly is the President. The association has been funded by membership and donations, and contributions from Scottish Campaign for National Parks, Dumfries & Galloway Council, South Ayrshire Council and East Ayrshire Council. 

Galloway National Park Association is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with OSCR (SC047398) on 9th May 2017