National Park

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:21 pm on 8th June 1999.

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Photo of Brian Monteith Brian Monteith Conservative 5:21 pm, 8th June 1999

Dr Jackson will recall from the debate that we had on 26 April in Aberfoyle that there is a great deal of local concern about what the term national-or perhaps I should say nationalised-park really means. Much of the concern is about funding-for example, what funding might there be to mitigate the infrastructure problems that will undoubtedly occur?

There has been a lot of talk about using national parks as a branding exercise to bring more people into the Loch Lomond area. Certainly, many of the people who are in favour of a national park see it as a way to attract more tourists. As has been said, that can cause great problems, as the additional tourist load can erode the beautiful things that we are trying to preserve. National parks are a double-edged sword.

We must examine what can be done about viewing points, single-track roads and additional lay-bys, and we must ensure not only that there are toilets, but that they are kept open. Sylvia knows fine well what I mean by that.

I have no doubt that we will return to the issues of boundaries and who runs the park, but we are seeing undue haste on this matter-there is by no means a consensus that a national park is needed in the locality of Loch Lomond. The issue is not simply one of preserving the beautiful environment. The proposal will undoubtedly affect people's lifestyles and businesses. Indeed, in trying to preserve what needs to be preserved, we may be disrupting it. I recommend that the Administration resists the temptation to legislate immediately.