Na­tional park road­shows be­gin

Cam­paign­ers in bid to win public sup­port

The Galloway News - - INTIMATIONS - Stu­art Gille­spie

Cam­paign­ers for a na­tional park in the re­gion have hit the road in a bid to judge the public mood.

Mem­bers of the Gal­loway Na­tional Park As­so­ci­a­tion are hold­ing a se­ries of public meet­ings across Gal­loway and South Ayr­shire through­out June.

They launched a dis­cus­sion pa­per on their pro­pos­als in De­cem­ber as they lobby for the cre­ation of the coun­try’s third na­tional park.

Sir Alex Fer­gus­son, pres­i­dent of the Scot­tish Cam­paign for Na­tional Parks, backed the doc­u­ment, which claims a na­tional park could gen­er­ate up to £60 mil­lion a year for the re­gion’s econ­omy and help sup­port up to 1,400 jobs.

As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Dame Bar­bara Kelly, said: “Scot­land’s ru­ral ar­eas are fac­ing the prospect of se­ri­ous and con­tin­u­ing pop­u­la­tion de­cline ac­cord­ing to re­cent stud­ies.

“We be­lieve that a na­tional park with its extra pow­ers, skills and re­sources is an im­por­tant way of help­ing to over­come this and to see the Gal­loway we all love be­come more vi­brant and sus­tain­able.

“If you want to be­come in­volved in the cam­paign, even if it is just to find out more, then come along to one of the public meet­ings we are hold­ing dur­ing June.

“With 10 dif­fer­ent venues there will be one near you.”

The first of the meet­ings took place in Kirkcudbright last night.

Next in the Ste­wartry is one in the CatS­trand in New Gal­loway on Tues­day. The fol­low­ing night the cam­paign­ers head to Cas­tle Dou­glas High School be­fore they go to Dal­beat­tie Town Hall on Tues­day, June 19. All the meet­ings start at 7pm.

Cur­rently Scot­land has just two na­tional parks, Cairn­gorms and Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.

The chair­man of the Scot­tish Cam­paign for Na­tional Parks, John Thom­son, who is also a trustee of the Gal­loway Na­tional Park As­so­ci­a­tion, said: “Eng­land al­ready has many more na­tional parks than Scot­land and to­gether with its ar­eas of out­stand­ing beauty, which also en­joy con­sid­er­able re­sources, they cover al­most 25 per cent of its land, com­pared to the mere seven per cent within our two.

“This gap al­ready puts Scot­land’s ru­ral ar­eas at a dis­tinct dis­ad­van­tage. If it is al­lowed to in­crease yet fur­ther, the im­pli­ca­tions are very wor­ry­ing.”

For fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, visit www.gal­loway­na­tion­al­park.org

Lead­ers Sir Alex Fer­gu­son and Dame Bar­bara Kelly back pro­posal

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