November 21, 2007

Call for 'family' of national parks

The government is being urged to set up a “family” of land and marine national parks across Scotland to boost green tourism and support the economies of fragile areas.

The Scottish Council for National Parks yesterday met Michael Russell, the environment minister, to outline its proposals to protect sensitive environments and habitats against threats such as those from wind farms.

The charity campaigned for the establishment of national parks and feels there is more to do since the opening of those in the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs. A review is due to be held early next year.

Robert Maund, the council chairman, said: “There is this feeling that after the first two national parks, everyone breathed a sigh of relief and said ‘We’ve done it’ and are sitting back waiting for the review to see how they are doing.

“However, we feel the case for national parks across Scotland is well established and we ought to be developing a programme. We are also drawing attention to the range of threats to landscape and habitats in Scotland and none more so than the developer-led scramble for wind farms in very sensitive locations.

“We support the concept of renewable energy but you have to do it in the right place and in a sensitive manner.”

The council, which was first constituted in 1943, was instrumental in establishing the Ramsay Committee which reported to government two years later and recommended five national parks and three reserve areas in Scotland.

Mr Maund believes the Flow Country in Caithness and areas in Galloway could initially be candidate parks.

By John Ross

The Scotsman

21 November 2007

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