Lead­ing By Ex­am­ple

Europe is learn­ing much from Scot­land’s Na­tional Park blue­print, but is enough be­ing done in this coun­try to build on that suc­cess

The Scots Magazine - - National Parks -

SCOT­LAND’S Na­tional Parks are some of the best run in the world and are stud­ied by other coun­tries who want to learn how to de­velop their own. But this coun­try should now be build­ing on that suc­cess and cre­at­ing more of them in or­der to bring en­vi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic growth.

Carol Ritchie, the Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of the Europarc Fed­er­a­tion – an or­gan­i­sa­tion sup­port­ing thou­sands of pro­tected ar­eas in­clud­ing Na­tional and Re­gional Parks across 37 Euro­pean coun­tries – be­lieves the Scot­tish Govern­ment needs to look at dif­fer­ent mod­els of Park, rather than the tra­di­tional bu­reau­cratic frame­works.

Carol sees the Na­tional Parks of Scot­land as some of its “best in­tel­lec­tual prop­er­ties”. She added, “I spend most of my time go­ing around Europe pro­mot­ing Scot­land’s Na­tional Parks and that’s not my pri­mary job; it is just they have a very work­able model that the rest of Europe is learn­ing from.”

The Scots Mag­a­zine sup­ports the Scot­tish Cam­paign For Na­tional Parks which says up to seven more Parks could be set up here.

Carol agrees, and says more needs to be done by politi­cians. “The cre­ation of Scot­land’s Na­tional Parks was a bold move and the Scot­tish Govern­ment has shown lead­er­ship in do­ing some­thing new and dif­fer­ent by in­vest­ing in Scot­land. Al­though it was a dif­fer­ent ad­min­is­tra­tion which cre­ated the Na­tional Parks, the SNP Govern­ment in the last 10 years has con­tin­ued to in­vest and en­hanced them in many ways.”

But she added, “In the rest of Europe, Scot­land’s na­ture con­ser­va­tion is seen as a beacon of good prac­tice and I think we should take a bit more lead­er­ship.

“We are the only ones that are not learn­ing the lessons from our Na­tional Parks. It is all very well to pro­claim the good work that our Na­tional Parks have done but if it is that good you should be repli­cat­ing the ben­e­fits in other parts of Scot­land – not just from the in­jec­tion of money but from vi­sion and po­ten­tial.”

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