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1st Electronic Petition to Scottish Parliament Launched At Dynamic Earth, 4th December 1999

An electronic petition gathering support for Marine National Parks, was launched today (4th December) heralding a new era of 'tele-democracy' for Scotland. The groundbreaking petition will provide vital experience in enabling the Scottish Parliament's commitment to accessibility and openness work via new technology.

The technology has been developed by the International Teledemocracy Centre(ITC) of Napier University in conjunction with BT Scotland, and is hailed as a leader in the field. The first live e-petition is sponsored by leading environmental organisation, WWF Scotland, and is being launched at a WWF supporter's event at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.

Ann Macintosh, Director of ITC said,

"We want to work with government to develop teledemocracy to enable more open, democratic and effective government. Having brought together best practice from around the world to develop the petition and software, it is very exciting to see the concept transposed onto a real live issue."

WWF supporters will be able to sign the petition, get involved in a discussion forum on the issue, and even email MSPs and Ministers with their own opinions.

WWF Scotland Communications Officer George Baxter said,

"Breaking new ground with technology like this opens up another possibility for voices to be heard by decision-makers and elected representatives. What is equally exciting is the opportunity the technology gives for people to exchange views and learn from each other - wherever they might live."

The e-petition calls for the parliament to include Marine National Parks in the National Park legislation which is currently undergoing consultation. WWF Scotland believes that if National Parks can offer opportunities for local communities, the environment and the local economy, then surely coastal communities should not be excluded from the benefits National Park designation might offer.

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