By Lucy ASHTON
Colin Lee, an equalities champion with 30 years’ experience, has been appointed to the Board of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority.
Mr Lee was appointed by Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity Lorna Slater for a four-year period and took up his new position on the Board on Wednesday 15th November.
He brings to the role 30 years’ experience working in the third sector and a strong background in equalities work. He is currently the Chief Executive of CEMVO Scotland, a national intermediary race equality organisation, and has also been an equalities adviser to the Scottish Parliament Equality and Human Rights Committee.
His appointment comes at a time when the role of the National Park Authority is evolving, with an increased focus on tackling the global climate emergency and nature crisis.
The Park Authority is currently working to finalise the next National Park Partnership Plan – the five year plan that guides how all of those with a role to play in looking after the National Park will work together to manage the Park and achieve a shared vision for the area.
A key focus of the final plan will be improving access to nature, for everyone, including under-represented groups, and addressing barriers such as limited public transport to and within the Park.
Mr Lee plans to use his experience to help further improve the Park Authority’s commitment to building inclusion and diversity into that plan, which is expected to be launched in Spring 2024 following approval by the National Park Board and submission to Scottish Ministers for approval.
He said: “I am really looking forward to joining the Board and working with both staff and Board Members to provide my personal and professional experience of racism, which I hope will help the organisation in its work to make inclusion and diversity integral to the future of the National Park, particularly in the delivery of the upcoming National Park Partnership Plan.”
Since June 2022, Zain Sehgal, of Glasgow-based charity Boots & Beards, has been taking part in a Board shadowing pilot created by the National Park Authority to give people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to gain experience on a public sector Board.
Colin Lee’s appointment follows the recent appointment of Stirling Councillor Chris Kane, who was nominated as a Local Authority Member of the National Park Authority Board on 1st October 2023 by Stirling Council, replacing Councillor Gerry Garvey.
Councillor Kane said “This is an exciting time to join the National Park Authority Board. Scotland’s National Parks clearly have an important role to play in the country’s journey to net zero and in tackling big issues such as nature loss and what a transition to a greener economy looks like for residents and businesses in the area.
“I look forward to being a part of the Park’s future and ensuring that it’s a future that delivers for climate, nature and for the people who work, live and visit this special place.”
Dr Heather Reid, Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “Colin and Chris join our Board at a crucial time for the National Park. As we develop our next National Park Partnership Plan, we know that a step change will be required in the work that the Park Authority and our partners deliver to tackle the climate and nature crises being felt here in Scotland and across the world.
“We are also keen to ensure that the myriad of benefits that people experience when they have access to green spaces such as the National Park can be enjoyed by a wide and diverse range of people and we will be working to ensure the National Park – and the National Park Authority – are diverse and inclusive places. National Parks can contribute significantly to Scotland’s efforts to restore nature, tackle climate change and have greener economic growth and I look forward to working with Colin, Chris and our existing Board Members to shape that contribution.”
The National Park Authority Board is responsible for making strategic decisions for the National Park on matters such as nature, climate, visitor management and planning.
You can find out more about the National Park Board on the National Park Authority website.
More information about the upcoming National Park Partnership Plan can be found online at lochlomond-trossachs.org/future . Hard copies are available to view at Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch and Balmaha Visitor Centre.