Talks are ongoing for creation of national park
Key discussions are to take place surrounding the creation of a national park in Galloway.
New Scottish Government minister Mairi McAllan has now confirmed plans to meet local MSP Finlay Carson.
The news has been welcomed by the Galloway and West Dumfries MSP who said he hoped to hold constructive talks with the minister responsible for national parks in Scotland.
He said: “I wrote to Mairi Gougeon, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and islands in May asking for a meeting to discuss the creation of a national park in Galloway.
“She has passed my request on to Ms McAllan who has now responded to say she would be happy to sit down and discuss the move which was a key pledge in the Scottish Conservatives’ election manifesto.
“I would like to think that this is a positive move forward. Hopefully the minister will consider my request to carry out a feasibility study to determine the pros and cons of a new national park in Galloway.
“As I have maintained from the outset I believe it is important that we examine all the issues surrounding the creation of a new national park, and the only way this can be achieved is through a feasibility study.”
The Scottish Conservative MSP has previously voiced his disappointment that the Scottish Government has dragged its heels on the next step forward to examine the proposals.
Mr Carson insists that whilst he welcomes additional funding for the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere and recognises the importance of Dark Sky Park designation, they pale in significance to the well-known National Park brand which is iconic around the world.
The MSP admitted: “I would be the first to say a Galloway National Park is not the way forward, if that is what a feasibility study showed, but we must have that in place, rather than keep kicking it into the long grass.
No date has yet been finalised for the meeting but is likely to involve leading figures from the Galloway National Park Association.
In her response, Ms McAllan said she was aware of the level of interest, and, in particular, the work that has already been undertaken by the GNPA over a national park being established in the area.