Page last updated at 17:50 GMT, Wednesday, 19 August 2009 18:50 UK

National Parks boards streamlined

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs was Scotland's first National Park

The number of board members at Scotland's two national parks will be reduced in a move which could save £100,000 a year.

Membership will be cut from 25 to 19 at the Cairngorms board and to 17 at Loch Lomond and Trossachs.

The decision follows a review of the way parks are run, which also recommended they remain free-standing public bodies, or quangos.

A National Parks Strategy Group will be formed as a result of the consultation.

It will be chaired by Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham, who welcomed the recommendations.

'Further success'

Ms 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 representatives whilst maintaining the number of directly elected members."

The strategy group will discuss the contribution of Scotland's National Parks to wider public policy areas.

The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park became Scotland's first in 2002 and was followed by the Cairngorms in 2003.

A government spokeswoman said smaller boards would "streamline decision-making".

She added: "Reducing the number of board members could also save the two national park authorities, taken together, up to £100,000 each year."

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