Outcry at Slow Strangulation of Scotland’s Regional Parks
OUTCRY AT SLOW STRANGULATION OF SCOTLAND’S REGIONAL PARKS
For immediate release 4 September 2020
Activists attending the AGM of the principal organisation fighting for the better care of Scotland’s finest landscapes and outdoor recreation assets, the Scottish Campaign for National Parks, this week expressed outrage at the continuing attrition of the resources dedicated to looking after the country’s three Regional Parks: Clyde Muirshiel, the Pentland Hills and the Lomond Hills in Fife. These have increasingly been starved of money and attention since they were deprived of the national funding that reflected their role in catering for the recreational needs of populations much wider than those of their host local authorities. Now, just at a time when Covid-19 has highlighted and accentuated the public appetite for outdoor experience, with the mental and physical health benefits that it can bring, the ever tighter squeeze on local government budgets risks effectively snuffing out their contribution as custodians of some of Scotland’s most accessible and widely cherished countryside.
SCNP’s Vice-Chairman, Graham Barrow, who has investigated the history and current state of the Regional Parks, commented that:
“Regional Parks were a Scottish innovation at the forefront of efforts to open up the countryside and to reconcile the interests of land managers and those seeking outdoor leisure opportunities near to Scotland’s largest urban communities. The dramatic decline in the ranger and other services that they provide is shockingly at odds with the country’s needs at a time when people are more conscious than ever of the value of accessible and well-managed greenspace. If their benefits are to be retained and expanded, everyone with this cause at heart must press for an urgent review of the options for securing their future”.
Ross Anderson, a former Chairman of SCNP and a long-time member of the Clyde Muirshiel Park Authority Consultative Forum, added:
“Like all the many people who have devoted countless hours of voluntary effort to the task of caring for Scotland’s Regional Parks, I am deeply dismayed by their neglect and progressive abandonment by the public authorities, both local and national, which should be their guardians. These bodies all have their problems financially but surely there has never been a time when the modest expenditure required to look after these priceless assets was more obviously justified than now, as we recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and look forward to the lifestyle changes that the climate emergency and biodiversity crisis will demand.”
Local environmental activist, John Urquhart, Vice-Chair of local conservation body The Friends of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, which is affiliated to SCNP, said:
“The Friends are 100% behind this message. The need for better resourcing and more provision for National and Regional Parks has never been greater”.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- For more information please contact Graham Barrow on 01625 573443 or 07848 042336 or Ross Anderson on 07714 315988.
- SCNP promotes the protection, enhancement and enjoyment of National Parks, potential National Parks and other nationally outstanding areas worthy of special protection. SCNP is a registered Scottish charity, No SC031008. www.scnp.org.uk
- Loch Lomond was formerly a Regional Park prior to the designation of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park in 2002.