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National Parks report published
The number of board members for Scotland's National Park Authorities will be reduced as part of the Scottish Government's commitment to streamlining the public sector.
A National Parks Strategy Group, chaired by Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, will also be set up to shape the future direction of Scotland's most iconic areas.
These key decisions are announced today in the wake of the consultation on recommendations from the National Park Review.
The report confirms Ministers intend to:
- Reduce the number of members on the National Park Authorities' boards
- Create a short life National Parks Strategy Group
- Retain both National Park Authorities as freestanding non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs)
Minister for Environment, Roseanna Cunningham said:
"Much good work has been achieved in the seven years since the creation of Scotland's first National Park. The review will help lead the way to further success.
"There is a clear case for reducing the number of members on National Park Authority boards while continuing to have a mix of national and local interests. I intend to reduce the number of Ministerial appointees and local authority representatives whilst maintaining the number of directly elected members.
"Conveners will also continue to be elected by the boards as, although the review recommended they should be appointed, we listened to and took on board the preferred option of the consultees.
"The creation of a Strategy Group will offer the opportunity to discuss the contribution of National Parks to wider public policy agendas.
"And I am confident that, by retaining the two National Park Authorities, they will continue to develop strong links to local communities with the flexibility to tailor their approach to specific needs."
The public consultation ran from November 2008 until February 2009.
- 58 responses were received, 14 from individuals and 44 from organisations
- Responses were independently analysed by George Street Research
The number of members on NPA boards will be reduced from 25 at present to 19 (Cairngorms) and 17 (Loch Lomond and the Trossachs). The intention is that the new boards will come into being in October 2010. This will require modification of the two National Park Designation Orders. The modification of the Cairngorms National Park Designation Order will include the extension of the Park into Perth and Kinross; an SNH report on the line of the boundary was published earlier this year.
The Strategy Group will be chaired by the Minister for Environment. It will contain up to 12 members including; the Scottish Government's Rural Director, Conveners of the National Parks Authorities, representatives from Scottish Natural Heritage, COSLA, one other NDPB and one independent person.