Galloway is preparing to make the strongest possible bid after nominations opened today for Scotland’s next National Park
The Scottish Government has asked areas that believe they should have National Park status to put forward a detailed application by next February.
The successful bid – or possibly bids – will be unveiled in next summer and the country’s third National Park should be up and running in 2026.
Galloway has been pressing the case for a new National Park for six years and has run a highly active campaign to explain why it is the ideal location.
Rob Lucas, Chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), said: “We are delighted that nominations are open and are preparing to make the strongest possible bid for Galloway to become Scotland’s next National Park.
“We strongly believe that the region, with its magnificent rolling hills, mountains, moors, rivers, lochs and long coastlines is the ideal location and will offer visitors a very different experience to the existing National Parks.
“It will also open up a wonderful, and economically fragile area in the south of Scotland to sustainable regeneration through tourism and other business development while protecting some of the country’s most beautiful countryside for the future.
“Our campaign is also distinctive because it has tremendous support from the public, business, MPs, MSPs and all three local councils covering the proposed National Park area.
“Indeed, support is growing all the time with increasing numbers of people becoming GNPA members or signing up as business champions.”
The case for Galloway
There 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
- Making space for nature to recover and flourish as a key part of the area’s response to climate change
- Improving health and wellbeing
- Offering opportunities for leisure and outdoor activities
- Encouraging young people and families 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.
Note to Editors
- For media information contact: Rob Lucas 07808 775901 or Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at [email protected]
Labour, the SNP, Green Party and the Liberal Democrats all support exploring the case for more National Parks with Galloway’s local MSP all supportive
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 recovery and the current recession 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.
Galloway National Park Association is a community-based group with trustees from across the region. We started work in 2017 and have over 1000 members, young supporters and business champions. 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