OPINION: This apology for a National Park would prefer to restrict visitorsto a few popular places

March 13, 2023

By Nick Kempe of Parkswatch Scotland

Last summer the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National ParK Authority (LLTNPA) advised those who had responded to its much delayed (see here) Outdoor Recreation Plan (ORP) that it had decided to incorporate it into the next National Park Partnership Plan (NPPP) (see here). 

The draft NPPP is to be considered by the LLTNPA Board today, prior to being issued for consultation, uses the term outdoor recreation just twice (and one of those is in the references).

The paper introducing the new NPPP (see here) fails to make any mention of the commitment to include  the work done on developing the OR in it.

Instead, it sets three new priorities reflecting  the Scottish Government’s changing agenda, restorIng nature,  a low carbon destination and a greener economy/ sustainable living.

There is no explanation of how these new priorities relate to the LLTNTPA’s statutory duty to promote public enjoyment of the area.  Those aims are only mentioned in passing in the NPPP.

Then  in a sleight of hand that, if accepted, will enable the LLTNPA to renege on its outdoor recreation commitments entirely, the paper says the NPPP only contains  high level proposals and no details.

The detail from the ORP,  which the LLTNPA said would be in the NPPP, has been magicked away!

I will consider the NPPP and what it says about outdoor recreation in more detail once it is issued for consultation but meantime here is a flavour:

In some places, where climate and nature considerations need to be given greater weight, action will be required to restrict visitor demand where capacity is an issue. At the same time, we will need to develop and invest in more services and infrastructure in popular places.”

This isn’t consultation – the places where the LLTNPA thinks nature and climate need to be given greater weight are not mentioned – but top down solutions from management.

Instead of improving public transport, so people can go for a walk in the countryside, this apology for a National Park would prefer to restrict visitors.to a few popular places where it and others can take the money in.

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