“What we need is an instantly and internationally-recognized designation and brand,” Dickson said, describing it as a “‘once in a lifetime opportunity’” that could transform the region.”
The nomination phase will be open until February 29, 2024, and proposals will be appraised in the spring. Groups will have to answer why their proposed area is of “outstanding national importance due to its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage,” among a handful of other questions. They’ll also have to prove community support and engagement from local residents—outlining any concerns or opposition—and explain why the area would benefit the whole country if designated as a national park. For example, if such a designation would lead to the development of skills and jobs, that’s a plus.
Unlike national parks on federally-owned land like those in the United States, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, British national parks can encompass whole towns and communities. Recently, locals have debated whether designating a new national park in Wales would be a boon for the economy or a bust for cozy community culture.
The Scottish government will announce a shortlist of nominations next summer, and will later announce which new national park(s) will be confirmed.