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Council leader says Flow Country would benefit from Highland national park status and provide a boost in fight against climate change


By David G Scott

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Highland Council leader Cllr Raymond Bremner says Caithness could benefit from national park status and drew attention to Caithness and Sutherland's Flow Country .

The recently appointed leader of Highland Council said he would welcome an opportunity for a new national park in Highland after the Scottish Government’s biodiversity minister Lorna Slater opened a debate on the issue this week. He said that Highland Council believes the region is home to some of "Scotland’s most unique and breath-taking landscape" which would benefit greatly from national park status.

Cllr Bremner said: “Preserving and protecting the environment in Highland is more important now than ever, due to the threat posed by climate change. It is important that we halt and reverse biodiversity loss by restoring nature and thereby address climate change.

Council leader Raymond Bremner.
Council leader Raymond Bremner.

“We have several areas here in Highland, which if better protected through national park status, could help us promote biodiversity, restore nature and become another vehicle with which to address the climate and ecological emergency, formally announced by the council in 2019.”

He added: “Areas like Ben Nevis, Ardnamurchan, South Skye, Glen Affric and Wester Ross would all be prime candidates for national park status due to their rich biodiversity and the many ways in which their unique ecology could assist in reducing the negative effects of climate change.”

Caithness also has an ability to benefit from national park status and he drew attention to the Flow Country situated across Caithness and Sutherland. Cllr Bremner says he has been a supporter of the bid for UNESCO to recognise the Flow Country as a world heritage site.

Countryside like this at Berriedale could benefit from national park status. Picture: DGS
Countryside like this at Berriedale could benefit from national park status. Picture: DGS

He added: "I think that the Flow Country of Caithness and Sutherland is an excellent example of opportunity for a national park among the numerous others through the Highlands.

"I have advocated the benefits of World Heritage status for the Flow Country over the past few years and believe that national park status would further promote the national and global asset that we have on our doorstop. I'm keen for us to follow through on this and other options we have here in Caithness and in the greater Highlands."

Communities, groups and individuals are currently being invited to share their views in the consultation on the creation of Scotland’s first new national parks in almost 20 years. Ministers have promised "at least one new national park in Scotland by the end of this parliamentary session in 2026", with 10 areas in the running.

In the 1940s, Sir Douglas Ramsay launched an investigation into which areas could be considered for national park status. That conversation produced five proposed areas: in addition to Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, he suggested the mountain landscapes of Glen Coe and Ben Nevis, Wester Ross and the inland glens around Glen Affric.

Opening the debate on Scotland’s national parks this week, Scottish Government biodiversity minister Lorna Slater, said: “Our national parks are part of a global National Park movement, valuing and protecting nature around the world. This brings opportunities to showcase globally what Scotland is doing for nature restoration, addressing climate change, visitor management and a range of other issues.

“It also gives us the opportunity to learn what approaches are being taken elsewhere and adapt and improve them for our own Scottish needs.”

She added: “Our parks are more important now than ever before. We are in the midst of the interlinked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss which require urgent action to keep our planet habitable. To keep our crops growing, our climate bearable, our ecosystems alive.”


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