The Galloway National Park Association has expressed disappointment at the outcome of yesterday’s debate in the Scottish Parliament and pledged to redouble its campaign.
Emma Harper MSP put forward a motion setting out the many benefits that a National Park would bring to Galloway and to Scotland and which enjoyed all party backing.
But the Minister has said Scottish Government has no intentions to designate new National Parks.
Rob Lucas, Chair of the Association, said:
“The outcome of yesterday’s debate represents a missed opportunity not just for Galloway but the whole of Scotland, especially as Glasgow is soon to host the COP26 climate change conference.
“It is disappointing that Ben Macpherson MSP, Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment, failed to recognise the wishes and needs of our region and our country both to protect nature and to nurture a sustainable economy and that Scotland is set to fall further behind others in designating National Parks”.
“However, our campaign really begins now.
“We were hugely encouraged by the strong support shown by MSPs of all parties to create Scotland’s third National Park in Galloway.
“We would especially thank Emma Harper for putting the motion and to Finlay Carson and Colin Smyth for the support they have given to our campaign over the past five years.
“In the run-up to the Scottish Parliament elections we will call on all candidates for the local constituency and South of Scotland seats to commit their support to creating a National Park in Galloway.
“We will also be pressing all parties to have a commitment in their manifesto to create more National Parks in Scotland and Galloway in particular.
“Even with lockdown our membership continues to grow and support for a National Park at the heart of a sustainable future for Galloway increases by the day.”
Note to Editors
Contact: Rob Lucas 01557 870098 or Matthew Shelley on 07786 704299 [email protected]
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 and Brexit are having a huge impact on the area: National Park status will help to redress this.
- The brief 2020 holiday season 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