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National Parks

What are they?

Scotland's national parks are areas of the very highest value for their landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage.  They provide positive management and additional resources to safeguard and enhance these areas special qualities for the long term.  They also provide opportunities for the public to enjoy the special natural and cultural heritage.  

Further information on the history and the creation of Scotland's national parks and the role played by Scottish Natural Heritage can be found on the Scottish Government's website external site .

Scottish Natural Heritage played a key role in the establishment of Scotland's national parks. We continue to work closely with the national parks, our priorities for working with them are:

  • Supporting the successful operation of national parks;
  • Promoting the care, enjoyment, understanding and sustainable use of the nature and landscapes within national parks.

Where are they?

There are two national parks in Scotland - Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, established in 2002, and the Cairngorms, established in 2003.

There are no current proposals for further national parks in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage has advised the Scottish Government on the development of proposals for coastal and marine national parks.

In 2008 Scottish Ministers recently extended the boundary of the Cairngorms National Park to include part of Highland Perthshire.

How are they selected and designated?

Legislation to create national parks in Scotland external site was passed by the Scottish Parliament in August 2000. This states that the aims of national parks are:

(1) to conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area,

(2) to promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area,

(3) to promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public, and

(4) to promote sustainable economic and social development of the areas communities. and that in cases of conflict of these aims, the national park authority must give priority to aim (1).

Subsequent orders specified different the arrangements for the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority external site .

How are they protected and managed?

A national park authority has been established for each national park. They are responsible for writing a national park plan and ensuring its implementation.  National park authorities are funded by the Scottish Government and report to Scottish Ministers. 

National park boards are made up of appointments by Scottish Ministers, local authority ward members and people who live in the area elected by the community. Legislation places an upper limit of the size of the board of the national park authorities of 17 in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs and 19 in the Cairngorms. 

Recent work has identified and described the special landscape qualities of our national parks.

Last updated on Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 13:56 PM. Click here to comment on this page