Hebrides Today

News from the Western Isles

Support for national park initiative

Posted by Editor On March - 1 - 2009

Conservation charity The John Muir Trust has welcomed the decision by the people of Harris to pursue National Park status and has pledged its support to Western Isles residents in achieving such recognition for the region.


Mick Blunt, area manager for the Western Isles, said in a statement: "This has been a remarkable grass roots initiative and marks a pivotal moment in the evolution of National Parks in Scotland.


"For the first time a community has taken the initiative rather than the government deciding which area deserves greater protection."


After a year-long study into the pros and cons the status might bring, residents voted overwhelmingly in favour of seeking National Park designation from the Scottish Government.


Mr Blunt added: "The careful, impartial and balanced way the whole process has been handled by the people of Harris - including the North Harris Trust -has been an object lesson in how community consultation should be done.


"Government agencies, local authorities and organisations working is the Highlands and Islands could learn much about working with communities by studying the approach taken in Harris."


Scotland currently has two national parks Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, created in 2002, and the Cairngorms National Park, created in 2003.

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