National Park

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:17 pm on 8th June 1999.

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Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green 5:17 pm, 8th June 1999

My concerns about the setting up of national parks reflect some of the things that have already been said. With respect to rural Scotland, Scottish Green party policy is that we would like much of it to be considered not as a wonderful and beautiful wilderness, but as a devastated land that was once heavily forested with incredible biodiversity and which was also well populated. When setting up a national park, one should keep in mind that we do not want to see the rest of rural Scotland as a national park.

The second point is the concept of carrying capacity. National parks are going to become extremely popular. I have been down to the lake district on a couple of occasions-indeed I was looking at a woodland area there just a few weeks ago-and in the summer the area becomes intolerable for the people who live there. The number of people visiting the park begins to impinge on the area that one wishes to protect and keep beautiful.

There is much to learn from Yosemite national park and we would benefit from sending one person there-or perhaps we should invite one person from there to address us so that we cannot be accused of junketing-to learn about the problems that they have had, which, to a large extent, they have solved extremely well.