Plans which include all new homes being for permanent occupation only and greater control of short-term lets within the boundaries of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park have been put forward.  

A draft plan outlining the future of the park for the next two decades has envisaged creating sustainable communities with support for people living locally to get an affordable home.  

Measures such as tree planting, better transport services, and a ‘nature first’ approach to development are also included in the proposals in the National Park Partnership Plan, which has gone out for consultation. 

Now people’s views are being sought on how to steer the future of the park until 2045, and how best the land and housing can be used to support people who live there.  

The park’s role in helping Scotland reach net zero carbon emissions is also up for discussion, with an emphasis on improving tree cover and revistalising and protecting the vast swathe of peatlands within its confines.  

The draft five-year plan puts forward a vision of how visitors may experience the park in 2045, and includes proposals driven by the scale and urgency of the nature and climate crises.

The Herald:  

It also recognises the changes in how people live, work and visit the National Park in recent years, particularly post-COVID 19 and highlights opportunities to set a new direction, focusing on three key areas: Restoring nature, creating a sustainable, low-carbon visitor destination and enabling a greener economy and sustainable living. 

Proposals include considering “interventions” such a new requirement for all new homes to be for permanent occupation only, and Short Term Let Control Areas within certain areas of the National Park. 

A minimum of 30 homes would be constructed each year to be made available at affordable cost to local people.   

Low carbon local living and opportunities for jobs and businesses in sectors such as sustainable travel, woodland creation and ecotourism are also proposed. 

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To capture and store more greenhouse gases in the National Park, it is suggested that the pace and scale of peatland restoration and new woodland creation steps up considerably, with the amount of land given over to planting doubling from the current average of 200ha year to 400ha. 

New habitats for wildlife could be established to reverse the “alarming” decline in important species which make the park their home. 

The Park Authority is pushing for a step change in how transport services are provided to make lower emission travel to and within the Park a more viable alternative to reduce the 79 per cent of journeys currently made by car. 

The Herald:

Dr Heather Reid, Convener of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “Our National Park matters to all of us, to Scotland and to the planet and we have a small window of opportunity to tackle these huge challenges and help the Park flourish for future generations. 

“So we’re opening up a conversation to help us imagine the future of this National Park. 

“It will mean doing things differently and doing much more of the positive things already underway - harnessing opportunities for new green jobs, affordable housing and sustainable transport, and supporting a shift in land use towards more regenerative, nature friendly management, while still producing timber, food and other benefits to the public. 

“We also need to help our visitors enjoy the National Park with less impacts on climate and nature.” 

Dr Reid added: “We don’t have all the answers but we do know this – change is happening regardless and our collective response to that change is the opportunity to provide a sustainable future for generations to come.” 

The National Park Partnership Plan draft plan, published today on the National Park Authority website, will be refined after the 12-week consultation period before it goes to Scottish Ministers for approval. 

It would come into effect in 2024.  

The Herald:

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “The time to act is now and that action needs to be bold.  

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“This draft plan lays out the actions we are proposing for the next five years to achieve the transformational long-term change our National Park needs but this needs to be a collective plan, a shared vision.  

“We all have an opportunity to shape the change that’s coming for our National Park and we want to hear about people's experiences, barriers and their ideas for the future of the National Park, whether that’s a family living in one of our communities, a farmer looking to diversify their activities or a visitor keen to help protect this special place.” 

He added: “We can’t do this alone but collectively we can help shape the significant required to ensure the National Park’s people and places continue to thrive and that its natural assets can contribute significantly to Scotland’s efforts to restore nature, tackle climate change and have greener economic growth.”