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Environment correspondent Louise Batchelor reports
"Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park will stretch from the Cowal Peninsula in the West to Loch Earn in the East"
 real 56k

Monday, 11 June, 2001, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Park plans are mapped out
The Trossachs
Environmentalists campaigned for the parks
The proposed map of Scotland's first national park has been unveiled.

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park will be bigger than originally envisaged, covering an area of about 1,600 sq kms with a population of 14,000.

It will extend to Tyndrum and Crianlarich, as well as the Loch Earn area.

And it has emerged that Argyll Forest on the Cowal Peninsula will be included after a hard-fought battle.

Loch Lomond
Park status is expected to help businesses
There has been a long period of consultation on the boundaries of the national park, which is due to be designated next year.

One of the biggest rows has been over the Cowal peninsula.

Many people there want to be included, arguing that Dunoon should be the park's south western gateway.

However, the government agency Scottish Natural Heritage did not believe that the commercial Argyll Forest on the Cowal merited park status.

The town of Dunoon will not actually be within the park's boundaries, but will still be seen as a gateway.

Delight of environmentalists

National parks bring commercial benefits, but their main purpose is to protect the environment.

The bill introducing national parks to Scotland completed its passage through the Scottish Parliament last June - to the delight of environmentalists who campaigned for the move.

Loch Lomond and the Trossachs will become the country's first national park, and is expected to be followed by one in the Cairngorms.

Forth Valley Enterprise and Dunbartonshire Enterprise have put up 1.2m to help create new businesses and support established firms in the first park area.

The area will be run by a national parks authority with planning and development control powers.

Rhona Brankin
Rhona Brankin: Consultation process
The authority will have up to 25 members, five of whom will be elected.

Ten members of the authority will be from the four councils whose territory comes within the park's area - Stirling, Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, and Perth and Kinross.

Details were announced by Scottish environment minister Rhona Brankin as she launched the consultation process designation order.

The consultation period will last 15 weeks and local "surgeries" are being set up to take views from the public.

Major step forward

The park is planned to come into being in April next year.

Ms Brankin said the draft order marked a major step forward in the pledge to create national parks in Scotland.

"Scotland's national parks will be unique to Scotland," the minister said.

"Unlike other parks, the social and economic aims are equally important to the aims of conservation, recreation and the sustainable use of resources.

"National parks are about people as well as the land, about creating thriving communities and linking the opportunities for tourism, landscape protection, recreation and farming."

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See also:

05 Jul 00 | Scotland
Parks bill becomes law
24 Mar 00 | Scotland
National park business boost
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