Earlier this year, NEMT submitted a response to the Scottish Executive's consultation on the proposal to establish Scotland's first Marine and Coastal National Park. NEMT was highly supportive of the principle of protecting Scotland's marine heritage and emphasised the importance of any Marine Park being granted full powers and adequate funding to manage its area.
Any relevant powers should be transferred from other public bodies, not duplicated. The response expressed a preference for a combination of South Skye and the Argyll coast as the location of the proposed Park.
Overall, there were 940 responses to the consultation, with 10% being opposed to the idea. Particular concerns included the creation of additional bureaucracy, negative impacts on local businesses and on the competitiveness of fishing and agriculture and the effect on increased tourism on local infrastructure and on house prices. The original timetable for the proposal envisaged the Park possibly being established by 2008. However, the next step is at the discretion of Scottish ministers and it is not yet clear what the attitude of the new administration at Holyrood to the proposal will be.
Will Campbell, June 2006
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