This page has been updated to reflect delivery in the first three years of the National Park Partnership Plan (2018-2021).
The National Park Partnership Plan sets out the overarching vision to guide how all those with a role in looking after the National Park will work together over five years to ensure a successful, sustainable future for this iconic place.
This Review presents the findings for the first three years of the Plan’s delivery, from April 2018 to March 2021. It compiles new and existing information on the Plan’s Indicators of Success and their targets. It sits against the backdrop of significant change since the Plan was launched in March 2018. Please see the background information for more information of the Partnership Plan and the purpose of this review.
It is important to note that the Indicators of Success are intentionally not exhaustive, instead focusing on key areas that are indicative of the outcomes, principles and priorities across the Plan. Regardless of progress against these indicators, we recognise the dedication, passion and ingenuity of all the people – including National Park staff and board members, volunteers, and our partners – delivering across the National Park during unprecedented and particularly challenging times over the past three years.
When reviewing progress in the first three years of the Plan (2018-21), we can categorise these indicators into cross-cutting themes and Indicator-specific themes. All figures are as of the 31st of March 2021.
Four of the Indicators of Success were performing well, with progress being on track or above target for:
Two Indicators found that while progress has been made against the Plan’s objectives, the Covid-19 pandemic had fundamentally changed our operating environment with regards to:
Two Indicators are not providing the insight needed, perhaps proving unfit for purpose, a better understanding is required for those covering:
Lastly, findings under six Indicators show good progress but not at the scale and extent sought by the Plan. It is unlikely we will meet the targets in these areas by 2023. The review found that the required step change is being held back by the constraints of the system we are working in.
As we review progress of the Plan so far it is clear that many of the outcomes developed in 2018 remain valid but we are now operating in an environment that has seen fundamental change.
The most significant of these changes are the ones posed by the climate and nature emergencies. There is now greater urgency to our work across the Plan but specifically within areas related to these crises.
We are at a pivotal moment to respond to these changes and, as a protected landscape delivering for Scotland, the National Park should be at the forefront of this work. We need to be bold in our ambitions to meet these challenges and this will require continued co-ordination and collective effort from everyone who has a role to deliver for the National Park.
The progress outlined in this Review shows both what can be achieved when we work together in partnership and also highlights the systemic constraints we are faced with. We are already working to address these issues through programmes such as our emerging Future Nature approach, and this will be a key theme as we approach development of the next National Park Partnership Plan and other strategic plans in 2022/23.
In the meantime, as we continue delivery of the current Plan it is important that we maintain our clarity of purpose, vision and ambition.
The National Park Partnership Plan sets out the overarching vision to guide how all those with a role in looking after the National Park will work together over five years to ensure a successful, sustainable future for this iconic place. The Plan guides the work of not just the National Park Authority but of all the partners involved in managing the area and whose work will make the overarching vision a reality. You can find out more about the Plan for 2018-23.
A suite of indicators was published with the Plan to establish whether it is delivering what it set out to achieve and having a positive effect on the National Park. Tracking and reporting on the identified Indicators of Success provides an annual snapshot of progress and is used to continually refine delivery against the Plan’s outcomes.
The Indicators are intentionally not exhaustive, instead focusing on key areas that are indicative of the outcomes, principles and priorities across the Plan. Reporting on the Indicators is intended to shed light on the total of our collective efforts, with action often needed in multiple areas and at all levels of policy and practice to see progress against targets.
This Review presents the findings for the first three years of the Plan’s delivery, from April 2018 to March 2021. It compiles new and existing information, sourced from the National Park Authority and delivery partners, to report on the Indicators of Success and their targets. This of course does not represent everything delivery partners would consider in progressing the Plan, something no single Review could do; as with the Indicators themselves the Review is strategic in nature.
The National Park Authority is the author of this Review, recognising our statutory purpose to ensure that the National Park aims are collectively achieved in a co-ordinated way. Nonetheless, it is of course the collective work of the delivery partners that is needed to deliver against the outcomes in the Plan.
One of the cross-cutting findings presented in this Review is the scale of the significant local, regional and global changes seen since the National Park Partnership Plan was first published in March 2018. This includes, but is not limited to, the declaration of the Global Climate Emergency and the Nature Crisis, the UK’s exit from the European Union, and the wide-reaching impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a clear impact on delivery by all partners since March 2020 and has also impacted this Review in various ways, including:
While it is crucial to recognise the impact of the pandemic, for the purpose of this Review it is important that we don’t assume the changes seen in Year 3 (2020/21) are related to the pandemic. As much as possible in reviewing the Indicators we have looked at what is behind the findings, trying to identify the most significant things impeding, enabling or affecting progress. Focusing on these ‘drivers’ of progress has informed the way we categorised our main findings.
The 2018-21 Review provides more detail on progress in the first three years of the Plan.