NEARLY three quarters of Scots want to see wilder national parks with areas devoted to rewilding, according to new research.

In an opinion poll for the Alliance carried out by market research agency Survation on behalf of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance, 74% of Scots agreed with the call to make national parks wilder, with just 6% of people opposed.

The polling supports recommendations by the Scottish Government’s nature agency NatureScot, which in February advised ministers to create wilder national parks.

This followed a consultation as part of plans to designate a third national park in Scotland, which was included as a commitment of the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and the Scottish Greens.

Scotland’s existing national parks – Cairngorms National Park and Lomond and the Trossachs National Park – were created more than 20 years ago.

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However, environmentalists have previously criticised the condition of Scotland’s national parks – claiming that they are instead “notional” parks that fail to adequately protect nature.

“We’re urging the Government to listen to its nature agency and the Scottish people, and make nature recovery a primary purpose of our national parks,” said Steve Micklewright, Convenor of the Scottish Rewilding Alliance and chief executive of rewilding charity Trees for Life.

“This would ensure these important areas can make a greater contribution to Scotland becoming the world’s first rewilding nation – a place where nature and people can thrive – and in achieving the Government’s commitment to protect 30% of Scotland for nature by 2030.”

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If the government follows NatureScot’s advice, ministers would introduce legislation to make restoring nature and combating climate breakdown the overarching purpose of Scotland’s national parks.

“Our national parks have the potential to be at the forefront of restoring functioning, thriving ecosystems in Scotland, a country that is currently one of the most nature-depleted in the whole world,” added Micklewright.

“Wilder national parks would provide more opportunities for people to live and work in them, including through more sustainable livelihoods, while visitors would be able to enjoy seeing more of Scotland’s remarkable wildlife and habitats as species and landscapes begin to recover.”