FOUR areas have withdrawn from the process to become Scotland’s next national park, with three pulling out in the last week.

Skye and Raasay, Affric and Loch Ness, and Wester Ross have joined Ben Wyvis and Glen Affric to withdraw interest citing several and differing factors.

Ben Wyvis and Glen Affric – who pulled out last week – said amid the process, locals consulted felt under-informed and rushed in their decision.

Areas understood to still be expressing interest to be given the status include Dumfries and Galloway, the Scottish Borders, the Tay Forest, Lochaber, the Lammemuirs, Largo Bay and Loch Awe.

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Skye and Raasay decided not to go ahead with their bid after a meeting between the Portree and Braes Trust, Broadford and Strath Community Company and Skye councillors to discuss the consultations.

A statement released after the meeting said: “Early indications are that the majority of those who participated in the consultation are not in favour of national park status for Ward 10 (Skye) and at this stage there are no plans to submit a formal application.

“The final report will be available to the public when completed.”

A National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) meeting held in Portree also voted against going ahead with the process.

The National:

In Wester Ross, 55.9% of those surveyed said no nomination should be put forward, with 32.3% saying Yes and 11.9% Unsure.

Elsewhere, those in Affric and Loch Ness said they would not proceed after a local consultation split opinion.

There is concerns over farm land, park boundary uncertainty, an increase in house prices, and a decrease in local decision making.

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Ministers have pledged to establish at least one new national park in Scotland by the end of this parliamentary term, with the commitment part of the Bute House Agreement between the SNP and Scottish Greens.

Scotland currently has two national parks: Cairngorms National Park and Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

They were created more than 20 years ago with the aim of conserving and enhancing the natural and cultural heritage of the areas while simultaneously promoting sustainable use of natural resources.

Submissions of interest are to be in by February 29.