We are investing in our iconic national parks

Our National Parks and for all of us, and, with Scottish Greens in government we are making them even more special.

This week I was proud to join our First Minister, Humza Yousaf, as well as representatives from the Heritage Fund and Cairngorms National Park, to announce a major £10.7 million investment by the Heritage Lottery Fund into the fantastic Cairngorms 2030 programme.

Along with funding from the Scottish Government and others, the total value of the programme could reach up to £42 million. This ambitious and pioneering project will help to make the Cairngorms the UK’s first net zero national park.

By creating vast new woodland, supporting active travel and transport in the park, restoring nature, investing in local green farming with six trial net zero farms, and working with the local community, we will establish the Cairngorms as a beacon of sustainability and set a crucial precedent for all national parks across the UK to follow.

Our national parks are special places and they need to be at the forefront of our efforts to reverse the decline and breakdown of our biodiversity. 

By investing in nature restoration, we can create and maintain natural spaces, and help to tackle the biodiversity crisis, all while encouraging people around Scotland to connect with the nature around us. 

In my role as Minister for Biodiversity, I will be creating at least one new national park over the course of this parliamentary term. It will join the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, and will leave a living and thriving and sustainable legacy for future generations.

This role has allowed me to work with so many stakeholders and groups who are working for our natural environment, and have been honoured to lead on overseeing Scotland's groundbreaking £65 million Nature restoration fund and supporting important projects all over our country.

We all benefit from a cleaner and greener natural environment. From the crops we grow to the air we breath and the water we drink, these all rely on a healthy ecosystem. 

The pandemic underlined just how much we benefit from our green spaces and why they are so vital. But it also underlined how our link with nature has broken and how far we have allowed so much of it to deteriorate.

We are working to reverse the huge damage that has already been done by decades of inaction and neglect. We are trying to turn a legacy of loss into a future of abundance and, as we  transform our economy, climate-proof our future and mitigate the impacts going forward. 

Our national parks have a key role to play in that journey. I want vibrant local communities and young people 1000 years from now to have the opportunity to have the opportunity to enjoy and explore our landscapes and the Cairngorms, and to fall in love with and benefit from the wild beauty that makes Scotland so special.