The term National Park is used throughout the world to describe protected areas of land or water of outstanding national significance. The title means different things to different people but all National Parks have some key features in common:

  • they are areas of land or water which are of the very highest value to the nation for their scenery and wildlife, and often for their cultural heritage too; 
  • they are managed in a way that safeguards their special qualities for the long term;
  • they are usually highly attractive places to visit and they provide opportunities for people to enjoy them.

National Parks in Scotland and throughout the UK are classified by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as a Category V protected landscape or seascape. This means they are areas which have distinct character and significant ecological, biological, cultural and scenic value which should be safeguarded through a balanced interaction between people and nature. National Parks in Scotland are different from many others around the world because, in addition to conserving and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage, they include aims to help promote the sustainable use of natural resources and the social and economic development of local communities in the Park. Most land in our national parks is not owned by the state. Instead, our National Parks work more through partnership to care for these special places, while recognising the needs of those who live and work there.

Scotland’s National Parks receive funding from Scottish Government and they attract investment from other sources to help safeguard the natural and cultural heritage, and promote its sustainable use and enjoyment by people. Each Park has a dedicated National Park Authority that helps to plan and co-ordinate work for the long-term interest of the area and also give local people a chance to be more directly involved in its governance. Each National Park authority is required to prepare a five-year National Park Partnership Plan. These overarching management plans set out how all those with a responsibility in each park, across public, private and voluntary organisations will coordinate their work to address the most important issues in relation to conservation, visitor experience and social and economic development.

Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government, (December 2023).
Scotland’s first two National Parks have performed well as models of sustainable development, delivering conservation alongside rural economic development and recreation. The Scottish Government considers the time is now right to establish at least one further National Park. It also wants to see all our National Parks contribute more to tackling climate change and protecting and restoring nature, whilst supporting the local economy, creating jobs and opportunities for local businesses and attracting investment.  

Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government (December 2023)
On 12 October 2023 the nomination process began. Communities and organisations across Scotland are invited to develop and submit their proposals to become Scotland’s next National Park and the deadline for submitting nominations is 29 February 2024. Detailed guidance has been published on the Scottish Government website and support is being made available for any group looking to explore or take forward a proposal. In Spring 2024 all of the nominations received by the deadline will be appraised against the criteria set out in the appraisal framework. The criteria are:
  • outstanding national importance 
  • size, character and coherence 
  • meeting the special needs of the area 
  • strategic contribution 
  • visitor management and tourism 
  • local support 
The appraisal process will help to inform Scottish Ministers’ decision on which area or areas should go forward for designation as a new National Park. The statutory designation process will then begin, starting with a detailed reporter investigation into the area or areas proposed for designation, including a period of local consultation. Based on the outcome of that investigation and a positive report, the Scottish Government would expect to bring forward draft legislation in 2025 for consultation, parliamentary scrutiny and approval in order to designate at least one new National Park by 2026.

Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government (December 2023)
The main stages for designating National Parks in Scotland are outlined below. Consultation is built into both the non-statutory and statutory elements. We are currently at stage four.  
Whilst Scotland’s existing National Parks are terrestrial (apart from a small area of upper Loch Long in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs), coastal and marine areas can be included under the current legislation. National Parks are associated with the very best of a country’s natural and cultural heritage, and should showcase some of the most valued wildlife, landscapes and seascapes a country has to offer and providing opportunities for people to enjoy them. They are also about long-term stewardship of these resources. Any nomination for a coastal and marine National Park would also need to be considered in light of any regulatory frameworks for the marine environment affecting existing and planned projects and activities in the area

Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government (December 2023)
A major reason for the designation of Scotland’s first two National Parks in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and the Cairngorms was that both were very popular areas for recreation and tourism. Managing this needed the long-term approach, powers and functions, and funding that National Parks bring. While ongoing issues remain, both National Parks have demonstrated their ability to enhance visitor management for their areas and are working with partner organisations on long-term issues such as local housing and sustainable traffic management. Both National Parks now deploy their own ranger services, and provide funding or support other ranger services operating in the Park. Future National Parks may face similar challenges, or may welcome increasing visitor numbers due to the social and economic benefits that the visitor economy can bring.
Access to affordable housing for local residents either to rent or buy is an issue in many parts of rural Scotland and has been recognised as a priority issue to be addressed in both of our existing National Parks. For example, the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan states that: “Access to affordable housing came out very strongly in the public consultation and we acknowledge that, like many other rural communities across the UK, there is a significant risk of local residents – and in particular young people – being priced out of the market. Whilst there is no silver bullet, tackling the number of second homes, vacant properties and short term lets should increase available housing stock, and we will set ambitious targets on new housing development to ensure the majority is for social rental, mid-market rental or other affordable categories, and that this remains the case in perpetuity”.

The Scottish Government’s aim is to support local areas to increase the supply and availability of homes for living in and it has committed to delivering 110,000 affordable homes by 2032 of which at least 70% will be available for social rent and 10% will be in our remote, rural and island communities. Scottish Government is also developing a Remote, Rural and Islands Housing Action Plan to help attract and retain people in these communities and it has been engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to help inform the Plan’s development.

Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government (December 2023)
To ensure any new National Park addresses the climate emergency and supports progressive development, our appraisal framework guidance for National Park nominations signals our intention to develop new bespoke planning policy on onshore wind to be applied in new National Parks. This means that a new National Park will be treated differently to existing National Parks with respect to NPF4 policy for onshore wind. The Planning Act allows us to amend the National Planning Framework and the process for making amendments to NPF4 will be covered in new regulations which we will consult on and which we expect to bring forward early in the new year. In practice, we would not make any change of substance without appropriate evidence, engagement and consultation.  Any changes would be subject to any relevant statutory and other impact assessment requirements.

Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government (December 2023)
To enable each National Park to address the specific needs and circumstances of its area, the legislation allows for significant differences in the powers, functions, governance and administration of each Park Authority. While the arrangements for Scotland’s next National Park could be similar to the first two, it could also be different. For example, a new National Park could: • cover a different size of area (smaller or larger) or a different size of population; • include marine areas; • be located within fewer local authority areas or a single local authority area; • have a different range of powers and functions (e.g. planning functions); • have different governance and/or staffing models; • be designated for different reasons to the existing National Parks
National Parks in Scotland are centrally funded by the Scottish Government through Grant in Aid. This funding is allocated to the Parks to deliver on the statutory aims of the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 and the functions and duties conferred on the Parks. The costs of establishing and running a new National Park in Scotland will be considered by the Scottish Parliament before final decisions are made. The cost of a new National Park depends on a range of factors and cannot be determined until an area has been selected and the proposed boundary, powers and functions of the National Park have been agreed. The Scottish Government’s combined 2023-24 budget allocation for Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park Authority and Cairngorms National Park Authority was £20.9 million. The Scottish Government has committed to provide funding for at least one new National Park
National Park authorities are established as executive non-departmental public bodies. They operate at arms lengths from Scottish Government and are accountable to the Scottish Parliament.  The relationship with government is set out in a Framework Agreement between National Park authorities and Scottish Ministers. National Park authority boards provide leadership and agree the overall direction of the National Park. They also oversee the work of the National Park staff.

Boards are made up of:
  • members that are appointed by Scottish Ministers; 
  • members that are elected locally (by postal ballot of the local electorate); and 
  • members that are nominated by the local authorities in the park area and then appointed by Scottish Ministers. 
Each National Park Authority is required to develop a National Park Plan. This overarching management plan needs to go through an extensive process of public consultation before it is finalised and this also offers a basis for local accountability. National Park Plans set out how all those with a responsibility in each park across public, private and voluntary organisations will coordinate their work to address the most important issues in relation to conservation, visitor experience and social and economic development
Yes. At least 20% of the National Park Board’s members are directly elected local people. Of the remainder, half are nominated by local authorities within the area and the other half are appointed by Scottish Ministers.
The National Park authorities for Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and Cairngorms employ staff who work on a range of issues within the National Park Plan including the conservation of the Park’s natural and cultural heritage, the sustainable use of natural resources, visitor management, education and social and economic development of the local communities.

The staff work across a range of areas including:

  • conservation and nature restoration
  • heritage
  • land management
  • planning
  • ranger services
  • skills development
  • recreation and outdoor access
  • education, learning and volunteering
  • visitor experience and management 
  • communications, campaigns, events and publications
  • business management
Ref: NNP FAQ Document, NatureScot and Scottish Government (December 2023)
What is the statutory reporter process and who will take on this role?
Reporting work is part of the statutory (legal) process for the designation of a new National Park in Scotland.  As outlined in the National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 (“the 2000 Act”), the statutory process begins with a formal Ministerial proposal that a National Park should be established (a ‘National Park proposal’) and a ‘reporter’ appointed. 
The reporter’s role and who can take on the role of reporter is set out in the National Parks legislation.  NatureScot undertook the reporting role when Scotland’s first two National Parks were established in Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and Cairngorms.  It is expected that NatureScot will take on the reporter role for the designation of our next National Park. 
Scottish Ministers are expected to decide and announce which area or areas will become a ‘National Park proposal’ this summer, following the appraisal of all nominations submitted to Scottish Government by 29 February. 
What does the reporter do?
On receipt of the National Park proposal, the reporter must:  
  • send a copy of the proposal to every local authority any part of whose area is within the area to which the proposal relates; 
  • determine the period (which must be at least 12 weeks) for which the copy proposal and requirement from Scottish Ministers to carry out the report are to be made available for public inspection and notify every such authority of that period; 
  • publicise the proposal in a manner the reporter thinks fit; 
  • consult every local authority and community council any part of whose area is within the area to which the proposal relates; such persons that appear to the reporter to be representative of the interests of those who live, work or carry on business in the area to which the proposal relates, and such other persons as the reporter thinks fit.  
The reporter’s role is to provide a report to Scottish Ministers on the National Park proposal. When preparing the report, the reporter: 
  • must consider whether the below conditions are satisfied in relation to the proposed area  
  • that the area is of outstanding national importance due to its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage;  
  • that the area has a distinctive character and coherent identity; and  
  • that designating the area as a National Park would meet the special needs of the area);  
  • must have regard to the National Park aims, 
  • must take into account any views and comments on the National Park proposal expressed as part of the public inspection and consultation, 
  • may have regard to such other matters as the reporter considers relevant including, in particular, administrative boundaries and geographical considerations. 
How long does the reporter process take?

The reporter process is anticipated to take around 9 months.  It involves: 
  1. extensive engagement with stakeholders and local communities in the area regarding  the proposal.  (This will build on the work that has previously been carried out by the nominating group and will be informed by the proposal that has been submitted); 
  1. a formal period of consultation; and 
  1. the development and finalisation of the reporter’s advice which will take account of the engagement and consultation. 
The reporter will work with other public bodies with expertise in relevant areas such as cultural heritage, visitor management, community development and farming and crofting. 
What should the reporter’s advice include?
The reporter’s advice should include the following: 
  • the area which it is proposed should be designated as a National Park; 
  • the desirability of designating the area in question (with or without modifications) as a National Park; 
  • the proposed functions the National Park authority for the Park should exercise; 
  • the likely annual costs and capital expenses of the authority in exercising its functions; 
  • such other matters relating to the proposal as the Scottish Ministers may specify; and  
  • any other matters that the reporter considers relevant. 
What consultation took place during previous reporter processes?

Examples of engagement and consultation activities that took place during the reporter process for the establishment of Loch Lomond & the Trossachs and Cairngorms National Parks included: 
Information: website, newsletters, Q&A material, displays at public venues, press releases and media coverage. 
  • Stakeholder meetings and events (including with community councils, farmers and land managers, businesses, environment and conservation organisations, tourism and recreation representatives); 
  • Engagement with local authorities; 
  • Visits to primary and secondary schools, questionnaires and discussions with young people; 
  • Drop in surgeries; 
  • Public meetings. 
  • Consultation document; 
  • Summary leaflet and comment form; 
  • Street surveys; 
  • Meetings/events. 
The consultation and stakeholder engagement that takes place during the statutory reporter process for any new National Park will need to take into consideration local circumstances and should build on the previous engagement work that has been undertaken during the development of the nomination.

National park status will directly benefit all those living and working in the area, boost many sectors of employment, and bring opportunities to create and invest in a green economy. This includes through investment in traditional rural jobs and skills; enhanced nature restoration and nature-based jobs; sustainable forestry, fishing, farming; and well-managed tourism. Local products and businesses would benefit from national park branding. 
  • A key part of this should be to recognise and celebrate the skills and practices of traditional land managers, and for that hugely valuable and hard-won knowledge and experience to be used to restore nature and to create sustainable, long-term livelihoods and nature-based jobs.
  • A thriving ‘ecosystem of employment’ can be built around nature restoration.
  • The investment that nature recovery will generate, coupled with governance involving local people, could unlock the area’s potential for local communities and visitors alike – creating a vibrant local economy that serves all who live and work in the area, allowing traditional and highly valued land-based skills and knowledge to not only survive but to flourish in a sustainable way, benefitting current and future generations.
  • All of this will help create a strong economy that helps our communities to thrive, and to enable our young people to stay in the area and to build their future here. 
Our Affric & Loch Ness National Park bid is about empowering local people, investing in our local economy to directly benefit all those living and working in it, and sustaining and opening up social and economic opportunities for our communities in this rural area – and farmers and crofters are absolutely integral to that.
Our proposals for landscape-scale nature recovery in this landscape of globally important habitats could bring particular benefits for farmers, crofters and growers – and help ensure they have a much more secure future – including because:
  • There is the opportunity here to sustain existing – and develop new – land-based businesses and jobs based on nature-friendly approaches and innovation, with farmers, fishers and foresters benefiting from green initiatives and investment. This is together with more opportunities to protect and celebrate our rural livelihoods and culture, and also with national park branding benefitting local products and businesses.
  • Nature recovery goes hand-in-hand with growing food. Agriculture and food production depend on nature – from wild insects pollinating fruit and vegetables, to healthy soils feeding crops and shielding them from disease and increasing yields, to rivers and wetlands storing vast amounts of water, which can be crucial during droughts or floods.
  • Farmers, crofters and growers are increasingly on the sharp edge of the interlinked nature and climate emergencies, which are eroding their ability to make a living. Nature recovery can make our landscapes more resilient to the impacts of climate breakdown such as extreme weather events, which in recent years have already been costing Scotland’s farmers more than £160 million a year.
National park designation would be a historic opportunity to ensure thriving rural communities now and for our children and future generations – allowing people of all ages to keep living and working here through a sustainable approach which showcases, protects and enhances the area’s outstanding natural and cultural heritage, including traditional and new rural skills and knowledge.
National park status for Affric and Loch Ness would bring multiple benefits for our local landowners, including because:
  •  National park designation provides access to funding and infrastructure to protect and enhance our landscape and improve biodiversity. It could showcase how empowering land managers across the board to make more choices that help nature get back on its feet is good for us all, and good for nature.
  • National park status will provide the opportunity to diversify landowner and estate incomes, because there will be greater focus on investment in the land to achieve nature recovery and climate change resilience. This would include enhanced grants for peatland and forest restoration, and increased investment in natural capital.
  • There will be opportunities to increase and diversify nature-based rural jobs, from wildlife tourism and camping, to rural industries in farm buildings – all while restoring the vital living systems and ecological functions on which we all depend, including carbon sequestration, reduced flooding, and improved air and water quality. 
  • National park status is likely to secure and grow the rural skills and jobs on which many large estates depend. This is because nature recovery depends on the traditional skills of land managers, such as deer stalking, to achieve the changes in the landscape that will enable nature to thrive.
This link provides details of the Scottish Government's Nomination guidance
The nominating party is Strathglass Community Council, with significant support from partners across the boundary area.
You can contact Strathglass Community Council via the contact page of this website.  Please note that all Community Councillors are volunteers, who are mostly employed full-time elsewhere but we will respond to any contact as soon as we are able.

The Scottish Government website contains lots of information regarding the process in general.  click here
There are two other nominations that we are currently aware of, who are working with the same Scottish Government appointed consultants..

Ben Wyvis & Glen Affric National Park nomination covers the majority of the same proposed area, except for a section in the west, plus a further area to the north east incorporating Ben Wyvis. website: (

 Wester Ross Biosphere's potential nomination covers a small section to the west of Glen Affric and extends from Glenelg up to the north of Ullapool in the west. (

Data collected via consultation events and surveys will be presented in each of the nominations.

We understand that nominations will be reviewed, considered and published by Scottish Government.

The national park nomination process was launched on 12th October 2023 and nominations close on 29th February 2024.

Some people locally have pointed out that this is a relatively short timeframe. Strathglass Community Council and other nominating bodies did ask for the national nomination process deadline to be extended; however, we were informed that this was not possible given the Government's target date for the launch of a new national park within this parliament. That being the case – and given the historic opportunity to nominate a national park in our area – we have worked hard to produce a well-considered national park proposal for public consultation, and to organise as quickly as possible a full stakeholder and community engagement and consultation process ahead of submitting a full nomination. This includes a series of local events, and a dedicated website which allows local people and visitors to the area to make their views known. We have also kept local people informed by publishing our council agendas and minutes online, on social media, and on public notice boards. Doing all we can to engage with the community, and listen to all views, is an essential part of the nomination