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Rural Development Outcome RD2:

The rural economy has been strengthened through sustainable business growth and diversification.

Why is this outcome important?

Overall, our rural economy in the Park is performing well with growth in accommodation, outdoor recreation, infrastructure improvements, and food and drink offering over recent years. We have also seen a notable rise in development activity, particularly in renewables, housing and tourism investment. However, we are still facing significant challenges for the rural economy of the National Park.

Whilst our rural economy has grown and diversified over recent years, it remains highly seasonal. Many rural businesses are operating at very small margins and traditional land management sectors typically relying on off-farm employment to supplement incomes. The National Park offers many opportunities for business growth and diversification, and for more integrated land management approaches.


We must also take into account that weather and flood events can significantly affect business viability in areas of the Park, including flooding in Aberfoyle and Callander. Adverse weather can also cause damage to some of our key transport infrastructure, including trunk roads, such as the A83 at the Rest and Be Thankful and the A84 at Glen Ogle.

Poor quality broadband (speed, consistency and availability) is regarded as a constraint to business operations, growth and start-ups. It also affects our communities, visitors and potential investors in the Park. While improved broadband is now available in a number of communities, through the current Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband Programme, this does not cover the entire Park.


An Ceann Mor (c) Ross Campbell

Our priorities for action:

  • Rural Development Priority 6: Supporting businesses to move towards a lower carbon economy through energy efficiency, reduced waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

Portnellan Farm

  • Rural Development Priority 7: Encouraging greater energy efficiency and appropriate renewable energy generation with a focus on small scale, low carbon opportunities.
  • Rural Development Priority 8: Supporting land based rural businesses to diversify/ expand and deliver multiple benefits including – implementing existing (West Loch Lomondside and South Buchanan), and considering the potential for new Rural Development Frameworks.
  • Rural Development Priority 9: Workspace provision and support opportunities for new business start-ups and growth, including more focused rural business support and digital hubs.
  • Rural Development Priority 10: Improved broadband and mobile coverage/speed via current and emerging investment programmes.

Who can help make this happen?

Local Authorities
Landowners and Land Managers
Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband
National Farmers Union Scotland
Scottish Land & Estates
Scottish Enterprise
Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Business Gateway
Scottish Government
Community Broadband Scotland


How will we measure success by 2023?

  • The number of renewable energy schemes and output.
  • The number of new business start-ups.
  • Percentage increase in broadband and mobile coverage.


  • Do you agree with the overarching Rural Development vision?
  • Do you agree with the 4 Rural Development outcomes?
  • Do you agree with the 19 Rural Development priorities?
  • Do you have any specific comments on the priorities or outcomes?
  • Are there areas that you think are important and that are not covered by the priorities?
  • Is your organisation willing to sign up to the delivery of the priorities and,
    if so, what/how does your organisation intend to contribute?
  • Are there other organisations that you think should be included as delivery partners?


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