Scottish national parks handed new funding boost to aid conservation

The Loch Lomond and Trossachs park will share the windfall which will go towards conservation projects.

Scotland’s two national parks are to benefit from £550,000 of new public funding.

Green skills minister Lorna Slater announced the cash injection on a visit to the Cairngorms.

The Loch Lomond and Trossachs park will share the windfall which will go towards conservation projects.

The money comes from the Scottish Government’s multimillion-pound nature restoration fund.

Slater said: “Scotland’s National Parks are unique places that provide so many benefits for nature, climate and people.

“Both Parks have a vital role to play in securing a more sustainable future for Scotland and helping us meet our ambitious target to restore biodiversity by 2045.

“This new funding will help achieve landscape-scale conservation of species and habitat across our national parks, helping some of Scotland’s most special wildlife to thrive – including farmland wader bird populations such as curlews and oystercatchers and a rare and endangered species of aspen.

“It will also help support smaller, grass roots initiatives and inspire everyone to play their part in restoring nature.”

The Cairngorms national park is home to 25% of Britain’s threatened bird, animal and plant species and one of the most important areas for nature conservation in the UK.

Sandy Bremner, the newly appointed convener of the Cairngorms park board said: “This funding commitment from Scottish Government will let us step up the restoration of ecosystems here in the park, where our aim is for people and nature to thrive together.

“From large, headline projects to small community endeavours, the extra resource is greatly appreciated and will be carefully targeted to ensure the very best outcomes.”

It also support long term projects with capital finance, allowing park authorities to move away from the current process of awarding a series of annual grants.

Instead, a system that increases operational capacity and resilience that secures wider funding opportunities will evolve – helping to reduce the dependency on public funds while still delivering for nature.

Cairngorms park authority chief executive Grant Moir added: “This is the ‘UN decade of ecosystem restoration’ and time is of the essence.

“This will help to deliver the sort of changes needed to halt biodiversity loss and start to see a positive turnaround by 2030.”

Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park is home to more than 300 national priority species and 60-plus designated sites recognised for their special habitats and species.

Simon Jones, director of environment and visitor services at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs said: “As we prepare our next National Park Partnership Plan and consider how we come together to achieve a sustainable future for the National Park, one thing that is abundantly clear is that how we all approach the protection of nature must go through fundamental change.

“Until now we have largely focussed on protecting important species and habitats, trying to lessen the negative impacts of damaging activities and developments.

“The focus now must extend beyond that, to actively rebuild nature, to expand important habitats and create new connected nature networks where species can expand and thrive.”

The Cairngorms national park was established in 2003, a year after Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park became fully operational.

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