Mobile navigation

Tay Forest National Park - What is a national park?

A national park is an area set aside for the preservation of the natural environment.

View from Queens View

The National Parks (Scotland) Act 2000 states that the aim of a national park is to:

  • conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of an area
  • promote sustainable use of natural resources of the area
  • promote understanding and engagement (including engagement in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public
  • promote the sustainable economic and social development of the area's communities.

For the creation of a new national park, the Act includes three conditions that an area proposed for a national park must meet:

  • that the area is of outstanding national importance because of its natural heritage or the combination of its natural and cultural heritage
  • the area has a distinctive and a coherent identity
  • that designating the area as a national park would meet the needs of the area and would be the best means of ensuring the national park aims are collectively achieved in relation to the area in a co-ordinated way

Each national park has its own National Park Authority who are responsible for writing a National Park Partnership Plan and for overseeing its implementation and management. These plans set out how all those with a responsibility in the park, and across public, private and voluntary organisations will co-ordinate their work to address the most important issues in relation to conservation, visitor experience and rural development.

Scotland's National Parks play a number of key roles which support strategies and plans, in particular:

  • protecting the very best of Scotland's nature and landscapes
  • standing at the forefront of action for nature restoration
  • allowing for community engagement and sustainable development
  • forming a vital part of Scotland's visitor offer and providing opportunities for the enjoyment of the natural landscape as well as outdoor recreation
Last modified on 28 September 2023

Share this page

Facebook icon Twitter icon email icon


print icon