A clear majority of the newly elected Dumfries and Galloway councillors are supporters of the Vote Galloway National Park campaign.
The Galloway National Park Association (GNPA) had called on parties and candidates to pledge their support for a proposal that would bring huge benefits for the region.
Voters elected a total of 25 Dumfries and Galloway candidates who personally backed the campaign, or belong to parties that are committed to taking the idea forward.
GNPA primarily sought the support of candidates in wards that could come within the boundaries of a Galloway National Park and believes that councillors elsewhere will also be highly supportive.
Rob Lucas, Chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), said: “This is a huge success for Galloway. Most of the parties gave us their backing, and dozens of candidates contacted us directly to express their support.
“We are really grateful for the enthusiasm that candidates have shown. We now look forward to working with the council to persuade the Scottish Government that the new National Park they have promised to create should be in Galloway.
“This election has shown that there is a huge public and political appetite for the project and that this is a region that would love to seize the opportunities it would bring to make the most of our landscape and coastlines, develop sustainable tourism, build new leisure opportunities, support existing businesses and help tackle climate change.”
Backing for GNPA came from the Conservatives, the D&G Socialist Group, Greens, independents, Lib Dems, Scottish Labour and SNP.
The next steps from GNPA are to push for a feasibility study to be carried out and to encourage the council to establish a working group that will collaborate with the public and the business community to argue the case for a Galloway National Park.
It is hoped that the council would also work with East Ayrshire Council and South Ayrshire Council. Both have areas which could be included in the National Park – and also have newly elected councillors who backed the Vote Galloway National Park campaign.
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
- For media information contact: Rob Lucas 07808 775901 or Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 or at Matthew@ScottishFestivalsPR.org
- Along with GNPA, The Greens and SNP are committed to calling for a feasibility study.
- The Conservative party has maintained its Holyrood election pledge to work for a Galloway National Park.
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.
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:
- 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