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Friday 7 October 2022

Scotland new national park consultation – nature recovery should be front and centre

The Scottish Government’s nature agency NatureScot today announced the public consultation for a new national park for Scotland.

Steve Micklewright, Convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and Chief Executive of Trees for Life, said:


This welcome public consultation on Scotland’s new national park is a golden opportunity to place nature recovery and rewilding front and centre as priorities for our national parks – so these important places can lead the way in tackling the nature and climate crises, while creating all sorts of new nature-based economic opportunities.


Now is not the time to be timid. Nature is declining around us, but we depend on nature for

our food, health and wellbeing, and for everything we do. So our national parks need to be inspiring trailblazers that show how people and nature can flourish together.


Through the consultation, we will be urging the Scottish Government to update the quarter-of-a-century-old legislation covering Scotland’s national parks, to ensure the parks are fit for purpose to tackle collapses in biodiversity and climate breakdown, while benefitting local communities and economies.


The consultation is the public’s chance to ask the Government to prioritise nature, and to ensure the primary purpose of any new or existing national park is nature restoration for the benefit of the nation.”


The Scottish Rewilding Alliance is a collaboration of more than 20 organisations who share a mission to enable rewilding at a scale new to Scotland. See

Here is NatureScot's press release:

Scotland’s New National Park stakeholder consultation launched

The next stage of the Scottish Government’s commitment to establish at least one new National Park in the lifetime of this parliament, by spring 2026, begins today with the launch of a consultation.

The New National Park stakeholder consultation, led by NatureScot, is inviting contributions which will help define how a new National Park will protect and restore nature, tackle climate change and promote sustainable land use. It follows on from The Future for National Parks in Scotland online discussion launched earlier this year by the Scottish Government

It is nearly 20 years since the first two national parks were created in Scotland. Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park was established in 2002 and Cairngorms National Park was established in 2003, following the approval of the National Parks (Scotland) Act in 2000.

NatureScot has already established a national stakeholder advisory group to bring together a wide range of organisations and sectors with an interest in achieving this goal. Now further key stakeholder and interest groups from across Scotland’s local authorities, visitor destination groups, conservation, planning and education bodies are being invited to contribute to the new National Park consultation about the role of Scotland’s National Parks and the criteria for selecting a new one.

The New National Park stakeholder consultation will be open for contributions until XX November 2022.

Biodiversity Minister Lorna Slater said:

Our National Parks do essential work to restore our natural environment, tackle the climate crisis, help manage facilities for visitors, promote responsible access and develop sustainable communities. That is why we are committed to establish at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this Parliamentary session in 2026.

Earlier this year I launched a national discussion to understand what the public value most about our National Parks and to seek views on what they should be delivering for Scotland, its communities and its visitors. 

For the next stage in the process, NatureScot will lead an online public consultation and host stakeholder meetings to give everyone the opportunity to feed in their views and ideas. NatureScot will also work with partners to engage young people, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities including through bespoke surveys and workshops.

The consultation will lead to a transparent means of assessing candidate National Parks, and will inform our strategy for supporting our Parks to do more for local communities, visitors and nature.”

NatureScot’s Chief Executive, Francesca Osowska said:

Our ambition for a new National Park for Scotland is that it will drive the transformation needed to tackle the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, helping to halt nature loss by 2030 and restore nature on a landscape scale by 2045.

National Parks are special places valued by the nation. The scenery and wildlife of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms are some of the best in Scotland and are wonderful places to enjoy the outdoors. It is exciting to imagine that potential for another beautiful area in Scotland to become a National Park.”

National Park status helps to safeguard and enhance the special qualities of these two areas, balancing the needs of people, landscape and nature. The two existing park locations are some of the most heavily visited areas in the country. The park authorities help to co-ordinate work to benefit the area in the long-term, with local people being more involved in these decisions. Alongside conserving and enhancing nature, Scotland’s National Parks also have aims to promote the sustainable use of the area’s natural resources; the public’s understanding and enjoyment of its special features; and the social and economic development of the communities who live there.

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