The Campaign was established in 2016 to promote the benefits of a National Park for the Scottish Borders, adjoining the existing Northumberland National Park on the south side of the Cheviot Hills.
At an early stage the Big Lottery Fund made a substantial grant to the Campaign; this enabled it to commission a comprehensive independent Feasibility Study which was published in 2017. The Study set out a strong case that the proposed area meets the three conditions for National Park status required by Scottish legislation, and reported enthusiastic support from local people, communities and businesses. It argued that designation would strengthen the economy both within the National Park and the area surrounding it, encouraging tourism and attracting other businesses to the region; it also suggested that establishing and running a National Park need not be costly but would in fact soon yield a substantial return on investment.
The Campaign has carried out an extensive round of consultation meetings with relevant stakeholders across the Borders, based around the conclusions of the Feasibility Study. Meetings have taken place for example with Community Councils, local businesses and representatives of the landowning and farming communities, and the Campaign has run stalls at major events to engage with members of the public and to answer their questions. Particular efforts have been made to persuade both Councillors and officials from Scottish Borders Council (SBC) of the merits of the case for a National Park.
In 2018 Scottish Borders Council raised the idea of a Borders NP in the Main Issues Report for its new Local Development Plan. This states that the Council “considers there is merit in posing a question on the proposition for a National Park, its possible boundaries and operational model through the Main Issues Report. This would enable the Council to better gauge the level of public support for the proposals, the attitude of key stakeholders, … proposed benefits and … what would be involved in the establishment of a park”.
More details at www.borders-national-park.scot