Scots are being urged to share their views on the creation of a new national park in Scotland, the first to be created in 20 years.
The Scottish Government made the commitment to create at least one new national park as part of an agreement with the Scottish Green Party.
The plans would see at least one new park established by the end of the parliamentary session in 2026.
A public consultation will seek to uncover what Scots value about national parks and what they could deliver, from protecting and restoring nature to tackling climate change.
This will be followed by a longer period during which communities, local government and organisations will be encouraged and supported to develop proposals for new parks.
Biodiversity minister Lorna Slater visited Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park to open the consultation, and spoke with pupils at Luss Primary School who have been involved in a COP26 legacy tree-planting project.
The Greens co-leader said: “It is almost two decades since Scotland’s first national parks in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms were established. Both are home to some of the country’s most outstanding scenery, are internationally important areas for nature and receive millions of visitors each year.
“They work hard to tackle the biodiversity and climate crisis, help manage facilities for visitors, promote responsible access and develop sustainable communities. They have become jewels in Scotland’s crown, and now is the time to add to them.
“We are committed to establish at least one new national park in Scotland by the end of this parliamentary session in 2026. To be able to do this in an open and transparent manner, we need to be able to assess any new area which is to be considered for national park status against a set of agreed expectations.
“This is where we need your help and ideas. We want to gauge what people want their national parks to deliver for the environment, culture and the communities within their boundaries. I would strongly encourage everyone to take part and ensure your views are heard and reflected in the shaping of this historic expansion of Scotland’s national parks.”
STV News is now on WhatsApp
Get all the latest news from around the countryFollow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp
Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country