The scale of regional support and enthusiasm for Scotland’s next National Park to be in Galloway shone through when the region took more than half the votes in an online poll.
The Scots Magazine asked people to vote on seven potential locations – Ben Nevis, Glen Affric, Argyll, Wester Ross, Harris, Borders or Galloway.
Galloway received around 1,250 votes, adding up to 50.3% of the total.
Rob Lucas, Chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), said: “The Scottish Government has pledged to create at least one new National Park for Scotland – and this poll is another indication of the strength of support for it to be here.
“Galloway is the natural choice not just because of its fabulous countryside and coasts but because so many members of the public, businesses, voluntary organisations and others are so enthusiastic about the potential social, economic and environmental benefits.”
The SNP and Greens included a commitment to a third National Park by the end of the current parliamentary session in the co-operation agreement they signed last year.
During the Scottish Parliament elections GNPA campaigned strongly for every party, and all candidates in the region, to pledge their support for more National Parks.
Seven parts of the country meet the necessary criteria to be considered.
The Scots Magazine Editor Robert Wight (who is also President of the Scottish Campaign for National Parks) invited people to express their views in an online poll.
He said: “Whichever part of Scotland is chosen, it will be fantastic to have a new National Park.
“This poll showed there is a great deal of support for the idea in Galloway and that there is a very strong campaign for the next National Park to be in south-west Scotland.”
Note to Editors
- The online vote, which had a far higher response than an earlier reader vote, saw Borders take 19.2%, Argyll 12.4%, Harris 5.4%, Wester Ross 5%, Ben Nevis/Glen Coe/Black Mountain 4.7% and Glen Affric 2%.
Anyone who supports GNPA aims can also join the association itself for a fee of just £5 see www.gallowaynationalpark.org.
Contact: Rob Lucas 07808 775901 or Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.org
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.
- We have the support of all the local councils (Dumfries & Galloway, South Ayrshire and East Ayrshire)
- 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 the Galloway National Park Association
Galloway National Park Association is a community-based group with trustees from across the region. We started work in 2017 and have over 750 members. Our objects are:
- To promote the protection, conservation and enhancement of the natural and cultural assets of the area for public benefit.
- 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.
- 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