Nominations Process Begins
Communities and organisations are being invited to submit their proposals to become Scotland’s next National Park.
A key commitment in the Bute House Agreement is to designate at least one new National Park in Scotland by 2026, to bring positive benefits for the environment and economy.
For the first time, nominations for a new Park will be driven entirely by local communities and organisations, and all areas of Scotland are eligible to submit proposals. To meet the criteria, groups must be able to demonstrate, among other factors:
- outstanding national importance due to natural or culture heritage
- a distinctive character and coherent identity
- how National Park status would meet the specific needs of the area
- evidence of local support for the proposal
Detailed guidance has been published, and support will be available for any group looking to explore or take forward a proposal. The deadline for submissions is 29 February 2024.
Areas that have submitted early expressions of interest in becoming a National Park include:
- Scottish Borders
- Tay Forest
- Eilean a’ Cheo (Skye and Raasay)
- Affric to Alladale
- Glen Affric
- The Lammermuirs
- Largo Bay
- Loch Awe
The Scottish Government has committed to designating at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this parliamentary session in 2026, provided that relevant legal conditions can be met, including compatibility with the application of other regulatory frameworks in place or planned for the area.
As set out in the Bute House Agreement, Scottish Ministers have been clear that new National Parks should be designated in response to local community demand. They should bring positive benefits to our environment and economy by supporting progressive development, addressing the climate emergency and improving public and community wellbeing.
In Spring 2024, all nominations will be appraised against the criteria set out in the appraisal framework. This will inform the decision of which area or areas should go forward for designation as a new National Park.
In Summer 2024, NatureScot will carry out a detailed investigation into the area or areas selected to become a new National Park. Based on the outcome of that investigation, legislation is expected to be brought forward in order to designate at least one new National Park by 2026.