National park proposal to be discussed

Published: 7th December 2023

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Councillors are set to consider whether or not to support a proposal for a new national park in the Scottish Borders when they meet on Thursday 14 December.

A nomination process was launched in the autumn by the Scottish Government, seeking proposals for new national park designations across the country. The nomination period closes at the end of February 2024.

Various proposals considered

The Campaign for a Scottish Borders National Park group has promoted the potential benefits of a national park within the area since 2016, publishing a number of supporting documents.

Discussions have also been taking place across the south of Scotland to explore the feasibility, including administration and management, of a national park within the wider region.

Councillor Jenny Linehan, Executive Member for Environment and Transport

“In considering whether or not we should support a proposal for a national park in the Scottish Borders we must take into account not just the benefits that this could deliver but also the challenges it could pose, not least the appropriate management of the area designated and the administration which would also be required, for example planning matters.

“The local campaign group has carried out a huge amount of work over many years, and those involved should be applauded for their efforts and the time they have dedicated to this cause.

“Unfortunately, at this time, and following significant consideration of all relevant matters, the group’s proposal is not something which I believe we can support due to the potential risks and costs associated with it.

“Despite discussions about a single strategic proposal for a South of Scotland National Park taking place with various partners, this has not been able to be progressed. This is disappointing, as the case may have been stronger for that proposition than individual Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway national parks.

“I am sure we will have a lively debate at Council next week, and despite the recommended approach, there is absolutely no diminution in our commitment to protecting our landscape, to increasing biodiversity, tackling climate change or maximising the economic benefits from our stunning area.”

More information

The report to Council can be found online.