Overall, the rural economy of the Park is performing well with growth in accommodation, outdoor recreation, infrastructure improvements, and the food and drink offering over recent years. There’s also been a notable rise in development activity, particularly in renewables, housing and tourism investment. However, the rural economy still faces significant challenges.
Whilst it has grown and diversified over recent years, it remains highly seasonal and reliant on traditional sectors. Many rural businesses are operating at very small margins and traditional land management sectors typically rely on off-farm employment to supplement incomes.
The Park offers many opportunities for business growth and diversification, including primary production of, and support to, the food and drink sector as well as more Integrated land management approaches.
Adapting to Climate Change
We must also take into account that weather and flooding can significantly affect business viability in areas of the Park, particularly 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 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 area.
The priorities for Outcome 11 are outlined below:
Priority 11.1 - Low Carbon Economy
Supporting the transition towards a lower carbon economy through greater energy efficiency, reduced waste and greenhouse gas emissions and appropriate renewable energy generation with a focus on small scale, low carbon opportunities.