The National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 sets out the legal framework for Scottish National Park creation. Here we paraphrase the key points of the legislation:
What are the aims of a National Park?
1. To conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of an area.
2. To promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area.
3. To promote understanding and enjoyment (including recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the Public.
4. To promote sustainable economic and social development of the area's communities.
What are the conditions which must be fulfilled for designation?
1. The area must be of outstanding national importance because of its natural heritage or a combination of its natural and cultural heritage.
2. The area must have a distinctive character and coherent identity.
3. Designation as a National Park would meet the special needs of the area and would be the best means of ensuring that the National Park aims are collectively achieved in relation to the area in a coordinated way.
What is the Governance of a National Park?
1. A National Park is a Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB).
2. The National Park Authority's membership is specified in the designation order and must not exceed 25 members. The majority of these are local to the Park and a mix of elected and appointed individuals.
3. The NPA must appoint a Chief Executive with the approval of Scottish Ministers.
4. A National Park must have one or more Advisory Groups on any matter relating to it functions.
What are the responsibilities of a National Park Authority (NPA)?
1. The designation order for the National Park sets out the planning powers the National Park will have. The extent of these can range from very extensive to very limited powers, e.g. the Park may be the Planning Authority for the area of the Park, it may only produce the Development Plan, or whatever planning functions the designation order specifies.
2. The NPA must prepare and execute a Plan setting out its policy for managing the Park and for coordinating its functions with the functions of other public bodies which affect the National Park.
3. The NPA may enter into a wide range of activities to achieve the National Park aims.
4. The NPA may arrange for any of its functions to be exercised by a local authority, and a local authority may arrange for its functions in relation to the National Park to be carried out by the NPA.
Q.What would a Borders National Park cost to run?
A.Probably £1.5m p.a.core funding plus £1.5m project funding
Studies of UK (including Scottish) National Parks provide evidence about costs and funding sources:
Core costs are covered by annual grant funding from (Scottish in our case) Government
Project costs - a wide range of funders including Govt Depts, Heritage Lottery Fund, charities, EU (until now). UK including Scottish National Parks routinely raise additional funding ----
A recent report by the Scottish Campaign for National Parks reckons that a National Park on the scale of the proposed Scottish Borders National Park would require between £1.5 - £3m p.a. core funding depending on the extent of its planning responsibilities.
Q. What about setup Costs?
A. Small - the area is well provided with tourism facilities and publicly-maintained, underused buildings which could house information centres. A first rate website would be required. The Scottish Government would fund a rollout. Initial and much ongoing publicity would be free - an advantage of the international interest in National Parks and their creation.
Q.How would the Scottish Government find the money?
A.Scottish Government would receive all the income tax and 10% of the VAT from the area which, in line with other National Parks, can be predicted to rise to much more than cover the cost of the Park within a few years.