Communities urged to register interest to become Scotland's new national park

An osprey in the Cairngorms, one of Scotland's two national parks. Credit: PA

Communities have been urged to register an interest in having their local area designated as Scotland's new national park.

The Scottish Government has committed to creating at least one new national park by spring 2026.

Official nominations for the site will open later this year once the appraisal framework, which ministers say will ensure the process is fair and transparent, concludes.

It is understood several communities have already expressed desire to submit their areas for national park status, including in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.

Scotland currently has two national parks - Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and the Cairngorms, which were established in 2002 and 2003 respectively.

Biodiversity minister Lorna Slater said the new park will contribute to Scotland's 2045 net-zero targets.

Lorna Slater has said the new park will contribute to Scotland's 2045 net-zero targets. Credit: PA

She said: "I look forward to engaging with communities and learning more about their proposals, and I encourage everyone to get involved as we move closer to naming Scotland's next national park.

"Our existing national parks play an important role in tackling the biodiversity and climate crises whilst also supporting local communities, businesses and visitors.

"Last year, we consulted widely on the future of national parks in Scotland, and there was broad support for our commitment to create at least one new park by 2026."

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, said: "National parks have a vital role to play in securing a more sustainable future for Scotland.

"They are unique places where we can maximise the benefits that can be provided for nature, climate and people.

"Scotland has set ambitious targets to reach net-zero and to restore biodiversity by 2045.

"If we are to reach those targets, urgent, bold action is required and Scotland's existing - and any new - national parks can make a substantial contribution.

"Through scaling up our efforts to lock-in carbon in the landscape, restore nature at scale and enable a greener low-emission economy, we can, together, help Scotland make significant progress towards these commitments."

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