Back in November 2018, in response to a question from me, the First Minister said that she appreciated arguments that I had put forward calling for a national park to be established in Galloway. She stated:
“We want to give full consideration to the proposal, and I am happy to ask the relevant minister to engage with the member and others who have an interest on how we can take the matter forward properly.”—[
, 15 November 2018; c 16.]
Sadly, however, no progress has been made. In light of the biodiversity and climate change emergency and the economic crisis that we face, and given the recognised benefits that national park status can bring, will the First Minister commit today to a feasibility study on the creation of a new national park in Galloway?
For reasons that I hope Finlay Carson will understand, I am not going to commit to that today. Obviously, I need to consider the question and the proposition that he asks me to commit to, and I will certainly do that.
I remember the question that he asked me previously, although I would not have been able to say that it was in November 2018. I am sure that, for many of us, that seems an eternity ago, given what we have been through in the past year. However, the issue remains as important as it was then. I undertake to look at where things are in relation to the creation of a national park in Galloway, and to look specifically at the question of a feasibility study. I or the relevant minister will write to Finlay Carson when I have had a chance to do that.