Which areas are in the running to become Scotland's next national park?

Five areas are in the running to become Scotland's third national park.

Which areas are in the running to become Scotland’s next national park? Getty Images

The search for Scotland’s next national park is underway with five areas in the running, the Scottish Government has announced.

The Cairngorms in the Highlands and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs will be joined by a third national park by 2026.

The government is considering proposals from the Scottish Borders, Galloway, Lochaber, Loch Awe and Tay Forest to be Scotland’s third park.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was the first park established in Scotland in 2002, before the Cairngorms was given its status in 2003.

Lorna Slater, Biodiversity Minister, said: “The Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Parks have shown how valuable National Park status can be.

“Both Parks are recognised for their incredible landscapes, their outstanding natural and cultural heritage.

“National Park status has boosted their economies, supported local business and engaged communities to make the parks work for those who live and work in them.

“Once we have a site identified, we will engage again with the people in the area to look at determining things like park boundaries and balancing environmental protection with helping the communities and local enterprises thrive.

“I want to thank everyone who has worked so positively and proactively with their local communities to discuss and explore local priorities and the opportunities that National Park status can bring, including those who ultimately chose not to nominate their area.

“I look forward to meeting with those who have led the nominations to hear directly from each community what they would want to see from becoming a National Park.”

The Cairngorms national park was given its status in 2003. Photo: iStockiStock

Kat Jones, director of Action to Protect Rural Scotland (APRS), said: “Scotland has some of the richest and varied natural and cultural landscapes in the world and is, rightly, world famous for them.

“Of the 15 National Parks in the UK, Scotland has only two and we are pleased that, 20 years since the first Scottish National Park was designated, we will soon have another.

“National Parks in Scotland, in contrast to those in many other parts of the world, are tasked to deliver for people, nature and landscape.

“This recognition of how important people and livelihoods are for our landscapes, means National Parks are in a unique position to lead the way on the nature and climate crises while also supporting thriving, sustainable communities.”

John Thomson, chair of Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP), said: “The process of inviting nominations from communities has revealed widespread aspiration and interest in National Park status.

“It’s a strong signal that this should be the start of a process for creating a suite of National Parks in Scotland, so that communities can build on the fruitful discussions they have had.”  

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