Galloway has been 'a national park in waiting' for years says Smyth

The creation of a Galloway National Park would be “game changing” for the local economy in both Dumfries and Galloway and Ayrshire, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.

Mr Smyth says the creation of a national park could be ‘game changing’ for the local economy.
Mr Smyth says the creation of a national park could be ‘game changing’ for the local economy.

The local MSP was speaking during a Scottish Parliament debate on National Parks in the chamber on Tuesday (June 7).

The Scottish Government has recently committed to establish at least one new National Park in Scotland by the end of this Parliamentary session in 2026.

Mr Smyth said: “It is no secret that I have been vocal in my view that one of those new parks should be in Galloway—a proposal that has significant public support, including from Dumfries and Galloway Council as far back as when I chaired its economy and environment committee, and from councils in Ayrshire.

“With an internationally designated United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization biosphere, the first dark skies park in Scotland, the stunning Galloway forest, a rich mosaic of farmland that is important to delivering food security and amazing wildlife, Galloway has been a national park in waiting for years.

“Indeed, it is five years since a report for the Galloway National Park Association revealed that a new national park could add between 250,000 and 500,000 new visits each year to Galloway and South Ayrshire—worth £30 million to £60 million in additional spend—helping to create and support between 700 and 1,400 additional jobs to complement existing jobs in crucial sectors such as agriculture.

“That could be game changing for the local economy in one of the most peripheral parts of Scotland, whose challenges of low pay and outward migration of young people are well documented.”

Colin Smyth said that other areas in his constituency, including the Scottish Borders, would receive a “significant economic boost from national park status.

“With easy access to the central belt and the north of England, a Borders national park would help to deliver that boost and bring in more visitors to the area.

Mr Smyth also paid tribute to the community-led campaign by the Galloway National Park Association.