MSPs put party politics aside for National Parks bid

Party politics have been shelved in a bid to win two national parks in the south of Scotland.

By Brian Yule
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 1:37 pm
Moves are being stepped up for the south of Scotland to become home to two National Parks
Moves are being stepped up for the south of Scotland to become home to two National Parks

Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson and Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame have joined forces to ask for support in securing a national park in Galloway and the Borders and Midlothian.

They have also invited all other South of Scotland regional and constituency MSPs to unite and encourage South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) to ask it to support both bids.

Cross-party backing has now come from fellow MSPs – Elena Whitham, Paul McLennan, Brian Whittle, Carol Mochan, Emma Harper, Colin Smyth, Colin Beattie and Martin Whitfield.

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The decision to write a joint letter to SOSE comes after Mr Carson and Ms Grahame contributed to a debate at Holyrood on the Scottish Government’s commitment to create “at least one” new National Park.

Both agreed there was a strong case to be made for the two areas to gain national park status and it was in the best interests to press the local enterprise organisation to show willing to support both bids.

In their joint statement, Mr Carson and Ms Grahame said: “We both believe our respective areas have many assets that would make them ideal for a new National Park, however we can also see the benefits of them both.

“As such we see no reason why SOSE cannot support both areas as candidates, without prejudice or favour to either.

“In both locations new National Parks would offer opportunities to protect our natural environments whilst promoting responsible tourism and new economic opportunities.

“We appreciate there will be challenges and concerns about the creation of any new National Park, especially and understandably from the agricultural communities, so they must be at the forefront of any consultation to ensure they are confident they can benefit from the protections and economic opportunities a National Park could provide.

“Similarly any proposal must consider the practicalities of a National Park and additionally benefit the residents of the area. We look forward to SOSE’s response in due course.”