• Nearly 30 individual candidates have pledged their backing
  • Support comes from across the political spectrum 

Nearly 30 local election candidates from across the political spectrum have so far pledged to support the campaign for a Galloway National Park.

Parties and independents have also included it in their manifestoes for the 5 May local elections.

Rob Lucas, Chair of the Galloway National Park Association (GNPA), said: “Our Vote Galloway National Park campaign has won widespread support from candidates and parties across the political spectrum.

“They are clear that it would bring immense benefits to the region, its people, environment and economy.

“This is an issue where local councils can make a dramatic difference to the communities they serve by helping persuade the Scottish Government that the new National Park they have promised to create has got to be in Galloway.” 

GNPA has called on all parties and candidates in the areas of Dumfries and Galloway, East and South Ayrshire that could potentially be included in the park, to actively back the campaign. Others outside that area have come forward with support, recognising the wider benefits it would bring to the region.

The association also wants Dumfries and Galloway Council to form a National Park Working Group which will work hard to make it happen.

GNPA is continuing to gather support from parties and candidates ahead of the election and letting the public know which ones are actively supporting a National Park. The list is at https://www.gallowaynationalpark.org/support.

Candidates expressing support as at 27 April

Dumfries and Galloway

  • Stranraer and the Rhins: Willie Scobie (Unattached); Ben Dashper (SNP); Chrissie Hill (Scottish Conservative)
  • Mid Galloway and Wigtown West: Katie Hagmann (SNP); Kenny Campbell (Scottish Greens)
  • Dee and Glenkens: Dougie Campbell (Independent); Laura Moodie (Scottish Greens); Andy McFarlane (SNP); Susan Murdoch (Scottish Conservative)
  • Castle Douglas and Crocketford: Iain McDonald (Scottish Lib Dems); John Young (SNP); Pauline Drysdale (Scottish Conservative); Liz Ashburn (Scottish Greens)
  • Abbey: Davie Stitt (Scottish Labour); Kim Lowe (SNP); Ian Blake (Scottish Conservative)
  • Mid and Upper Nithsdale: Tony Berretti (SNP); Kyle Thornton (Scottish Conservatives)
  • Lochar: Sandy Rogerson (Scottish Greens); Linda Dorward (Scottish Labour)
  • North West Dumfries: Andy Ferguson (SNP)
  • Annandale East and Eskdale: Archie Dryburgh (Scottish Labour)
  • Annandale North: Carolyne Wilson (Scottish Labour); Jennifer Norris (Scottish Greens)
  • Annandale South: Cameron Garrett (Scottish Greens)
  • Nith: Keith Walters (Scottish Labour)

East Ayrshire

  • Doon Valley: Jennifer Hogg (SNP)

South Ayrshire

  • Girvan and South Carrick: Peter Henderson (SNP)

Party and manifesto commitments

Dougie Campbell, Independent candidate in Dee and Glenkens, said in his manifesto: “I will support the campaign for a Galloway National Park to ensure social, economic and employment opportunities for our struggling rural communities.”

The Greens have said they: “Welcome National Park status which generates high quality jobs, affordable housing for local people and limits the impact of second homes and holiday lets on our communities.”

Scottish Labour has committed itself to campaigning for a Galloway National Park.

The SNP say they: “support a feasibility study on the potential for the establishment of a Galloway National Park to protect our scenic landscape and natural marine environment.”

The Scottish Conservatives have told GNPA that they remain committed to creating Scotland’s third National Park in Galloway.

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