Kintyre to miss out in Argyll and Bute’s national park bid

Argyll and Bute Council would like to see the region, stretching from Coll and Tiree to the West Kintyre coast, become Britain's largest national park. However, the bid excludes the majority of Kintyre.

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It seems that Kintyre has been excluded from Argyll and Bute council’s plans to create Britain’s largest national park.

The council has created a planning blueprint with details of a massive conservation area covering many of the region’s islands, but neglecting Argyll’s mainland attractions.

Covering more than 6,863km2, the proposed park would be Scotland’s third and largest national park, bigger than both Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms, which is currently the UK’s largest.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, which covers an area of 620km2 of cliffs, beaches, harbours and coves, is described as: ‘Britain’s only fully coastal national park.’

Included in the Argyll and Bute Council’s main issues report, the coastal and marine Argyll and Islands National Park proposal is part of a public consultation seeking to explore what could be contained in the local development plan, when it is produced, by asking questions about how the next plan would vary from the current one.

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: ‘The questions relating to a potential national park seek views on whether the council should, or should not, actively explore the potential for a national park in the future.

‘The mapped proposals are indicative and we are encouraging public views on the potential extent of any possible national park.’

The council’s proposal suggests that some of the benefits national park status include bringing more visitors to remote areas, benefiting tourism, generating a focus on active conservation management and direct and indirect employment, but acknowledges that cost may be a deterrent.

The estimated cost of creating a national park is around £7 million, and Argyll and Bute Council’s document admits that a potential negative could be: ‘The costly creation of another regulatory body and the bureaucracy that entails.’

A council spokesperson added: ‘If the question about a national park receives a positive response, then part of actively exploring the potential would involve any financial considerations.’

Building developments in national parks are restricted, so one possibility is that the council did not want to limit the industrial developments, such as wind farms and fish farms, that are built in Kintyre, by siting the national park on the mainland.

Members of the public have until December 11 to take part in the consultation, and can access the online forms by visiting the council’s website.

A classic yacht in Tobermory harbour which would be part of the proposed national park. 25_c43tobermory01_national_park

Ben More and A’Choich are reflected in Loch Scridain from Penygheal on the Isle of Mull.25_c43mull02_national_park