A NEW Highland national park could help to fight climate change, according to the leader of Highland Council.

Raymond Bremner, the newly appointed SNP leader of the local authority, said that he would welcome the opportunity for a new national park in Highland following this week’s debate on the issue in Holyrood, led by the Scottish Government’s biodiversity minister Lorna Slater.

At present, Scotland has two national parks: Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms. The Scottish Government launched the first stage of a public consultation on Scotland’s national parks on May 13.

Communities, organisations and individuals have been encouraged to share their views on the creation of the first new national park in Scotland in years, which the Government has pledged to create by the end of the current parliamentary session in 2026. So far, ten areas are in the running.

READ MORE: Where should Scotland's next national park be? Government asks public for views

Commenting, Bremner said: “Preserving and protecting the environment in Highland is more important now than ever, due to the threat posed by climate change. It is important that we halt and reverse biodiversity loss by restoring nature and thereby address climate change.

“We have several areas here in Highland, which if better protected through national park status, could help us promote biodiversity, restore nature and become another vehicle with which to address the climate and ecological emergency, formally announced by the council in 2019.”

Bremner added: “Areas like Ben Nevis, Ardnamurchan, South Skye, Glen Affric and Wester Ross would all be prime candidates for national park status due to their rich biodiversity and the many ways in which their unique ecology could assist in reducing the negative effects of climate change.”

Speaking to the National, a Scottish Green spokesperson commented: "With world-renowned vistas, plant and wildlife, the delivery of a new national park by Greens in government is an exciting opportunity for many places in Scotland. One in nine Scots species are at risk of extinction, and our landscapes are facing significant challenges, so we need to act now to protect and restore them.

"Our national parks are on the front line of tackling the interlinked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. We've already seen the great work done by our existing parks, and how working to restore nature at scale can reduce the effects of climate change in ways that benefit individuals, communities and the country. There's no question the same could be done in other areas."

Addressing Bremner’s remarks, the spokesperson added: "The support of local councils will be absolutely essential in making the new park a success. So it's great to see the leader of Highland Council being proactive in building the case for some of the areas of outstanding natural beauty there."