Initial plans for investment in improved camping unveiled
The Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Dr Aileen McLeod, has approved camping management proposals that cover 3.7% of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. The proposals put forward by The Park Authority aim to protect the Park’s world-class environment by addressing damage caused by overuse and antisocial behaviour around the Park’s busiest lochshores.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority Convener Linda McKay, warmly welcomed the announcement:
“This is tremendously positive news for all those who, like us, want to protect and enhance some of Scotland’s most precious natural places.
“These carefully considered proposals reflect the views of a wide body of interests
and demonstrate the delicate balance that needs to be struck when caring for our National Parks. We firmly believe that the combination of improved camping facilities alongside management of camping pressures on our loch shores will encourage people to enjoy everything that’s great about Scotland outdoors, while protecting Loch Lomond & The Trossachs for this generation, and the next.”
The plans (comprising management zones which affect 3.7% of the National Park) include:
- The introduction of 300 low-cost camping places through a combination of new and improved camping facilities and camping permits to allow informal lochshore camping at sustainable levels;
- New seasonal camping management byelaws (which come into force in March 2017 and will apply 1 March – 30 September each year) to regulate camping, tackle antisocial behaviour and make it an offence to cause damage to the Park’s natural environment. They will also prevent inappropriate use of public laybys as encampments by caravans and campervans;
- Continuing education on respect for the National Park and ongoing working with Police Scotland to enforce both existing and new legislation.
The National Park Authority collected years of evidence to support its proposals and found that, despite increased ranger and police efforts, serious problems ranging from widespread litter and fire-damage, to abandonment of entire campsites were continuing to blight the Park’s outstanding natural beauty.
Local residents are also celebrating today’s announcement, which will introduce three new ‘camping management zones’ at West Loch Lomond, Trossachs (West) and Trossachs (North).
The existing zone at East Loch Lomond – where investment, education and enforcement has had a transformative effect in addressing antisocial behaviour – will see a slight adjustment to its suite of measures for consistency and ease of communication to consumers.
Richard Graham, Chairman of St Fillans Community Council said:
“This is great news, not only for the communities who have had to put up with environmental degradation and antisocial behaviour for years, but also for the visitors who have been put off spending time in these ‘no go’ zones.
“We’ve seen the restorative effect that dealing with the similar issues had on East Loch Lomond and look forward to seeing families, responsible campers and visitors return to areas like ours, which have been blighted by these problems for too long.”
As part of the plans which will come into effect for the 2017 season, feasibility work is already well advanced at Loch Chon in The Trossachs on land managed by Forest Enterprise Scotland. It is proposed that the picturesque site at Loch Chon will accommodate 30 tent pitches alongside facilities including a fresh water supply, waste disposal and toilets. Similar sites will be created across the four management zones. Meanwhile, a camping permit scheme will be introduced to facilitate responsible camping in informal lochshore settings, taking the total number of camping places available in the management zones to 300 in the first year the byelaw is in operation, with the intention of adding further sites beyond that.
Susan Davies, Scottish Natural Heritage’s (SNH) chief executive, said:
“We welcome this announcement and share the Park’s vision for Loch Lomond & The Trossachs as a world-class destination where nature is protected, and enjoyed by all. We believe these measures do just that and have worked closely with the Park Authority to refine these plans that encourage responsible access and investment in better visitor facilities.”
For further information, contact:
Kelly Paterson at The BIG Partnership telephone 0141 333 9585; mobile 07882 152 914 email: Kelly.Paterson@bigpartnership.co.uk.
Katie Burnett at The BIG Partnership telephone 0141 333 9585; mobile 07525 592 825 email: Katie.Burnett@bigpartnership.co.uk