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EDITIONS
Monday, 8 July, 2002, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
National park 'goes live'
The Trossachs
The national park has been debated for 50 years
The first national park in Scotland has been legally "born" - less than two weeks before it becomes fully operational.

The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park will be overseen by a 25-member board, which began its work on Monday.

Critics have warned the park could become a honey pot, swamping the area with visitors and new development.

But its supporters believe it offers a chance to improve the area and facilities for locals and tourists, while protecting the landscape.

The appointment of the board members - who are drawn from local councils, interested bodies and those who have relevant expertise - was confirmed by Environment and Rural Development Minister Ross Finnie.

He said the creation of the park was hoped to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area
  • Promote sustainable use of the natural resources
  • Promote understanding and enjoyment of the area's special qualities
  • Promote sustainable economic and social development of the area's communities.
Loch Lomond attracts five million visitors every year.

It is hoped that national park status will allow all the area's conflicting interests to be managed effectively, so that people do not destroy the landscape and wildlife they have come to see.

Ross Finnie
Ross Finnie welcomed the park's creation
The park authority can now meet and elect a convenor, ready to take over full planning powers from local authorities in the area later in July.

The creation of the national park has been debated for about 50 years.

Mr Finnie said: "The establishment of the board of Scotland's first National Park is without doubt an important and historic event.

"I am impressed by the quality and breadth of experience of those persons who have agreed to serve as members of the authority in what will be an exciting and challenging time.

"I am in no doubt about the high level of commitment that they, and those members returned under the recent election process, will bring to the task of ensuring that the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park gets off to the best start."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Environment correspondent Louise Batchelor
"Central Scotland's playground was the first choice"
See also:

30 May 02 | Scotland
11 Jun 01 | Scotland
05 Jul 00 | Scotland
24 Mar 00 | Scotland
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