More National Parks for Scotland?

12 February 2018

John Mayhew, project manager of the Scottish National Parks Strategy Project, provides an update on the fight to designate more beautiful Scottish spaces as National Parks.

It’s been a busy few months for the campaign for more National Parks in Scotland, so I thought Campaign for National Park readers might appreciate an update.  As readers may be aware there are only two National Parks in Scotland:  Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (designated in 2002) and the Cairngorms (2003).

Unfinished Business?

The campaign for a national strategy to designate more National Parks is run by the Scottish Campaign for National Parks (SCNP) and the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland (APRS).  Five years ago we published our landmark report Unfinished Business, which set out the case for at least seven more National Parks in Scotland.  Our proposals are backed by the John Muir Trust, Mountaineering Scotland, the National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Ramblers Scotland, the Scottish Wild Land Group, the Scottish Wildlife Trust and Woodland Trust Scotland. 

National Politics

In May 2017 Finlay Carson, Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for Galloway and West Dumfries, led a Parliamentary Debate in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, during which Conservative, Green and Labour MSPs all spoke in favour of more National Parks. SCNP and APRS issued a briefing to all MSPs in advance of the debate.  In September we met the Scottish Government’s Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham MSP, seeking to persuade her that the benefits from our existing National Parks should be spread to more of Scotland.  Lively local campaigns are now underway in three of the seven areas we propose as National Parks.




A snowy scene from Cairngorns National Park. Photo credit: Anna Fleming, submitted as part of 2018's hidden treasures photography competition in partnership with National Parks UK.



Scottish Borders

The Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park has published a major independent Feasibility Study, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which makes a strong case for a National Park in the southern Borders, adjoining the existing Northumberland National Park south of the Cheviots.


The newly-formed Galloway National Park Association has published a summary of the case for a Galloway National Park, and in December 2017 launched a comprehensive Discussion Paper for public consultation.

Argyll and Bute

In October 2017 Argyll and Bute Council announced, in the Main Issues Report for its new Local Development Plan, that it is seriously considering proposing a Coastal and Marine National Park (CMNP) for the Argyll Islands and Coast. This surprise announcement was covered prominently by the Sunday Post.  SCNP and APRS have made submissions in support of this proposal, as have several other national organisations and local members

Publicity and Events

The Scots Magazine has given consistent positive support to the campaign for a full year, through a series of articles on the benefits of more National Parks and the special qualities of the seven areas proposed by SCNP and APRS.

During Spring 2017 outdoor retailer Tiso kindly invited us to run stalls at all of its open evenings in its stores across Scotland, giving us a great opportunity to talk to the many Tiso customers who enjoy the fine landscapes and wildlife protected by National Parks.


Click here to read more about the case for more Scottish National Parks from APRS. Or check out APRS on Facebook or Twitter.