News release: National Park outlines proposals to transform busiest lochshores

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For immediate release: 6 October 2014

NATIONAL PARK SETS OUT PROPOSALS TO TRANSFORM BUSIEST LOCHSHORES Consultation begins on measures to tackle intense camping pressure on visitor hotspots  

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has today announced a consultation, called ‘Your Park’, proposing far-reaching measures to protect the Park’s unique environment – now and for future generations.

A growing body of evidence shows that the natural beauty and rural economy of the Park is being severely damaged by over-use of the area’s most popular lochshores by high volumes of visitors and antisocial camping.

Following discussions with local communities and businesses in the worst affected areas, the Park Authority is proposing solutions to tackle serious problems ranging from litter and fire damage to abandonment of entire campsites and summer-long caravan encampments in laybys.

East Loch Lomond is an area that was previously blighted by these entrenched behaviours. Three years ago the Authority and its partners introduced wide-ranging measures including successful, new camping facilities and byelaws to manage camping pressures. This combination has transformed the area, resulting in an ¹81% reduction in antisocial behaviour with the local economy significantly benefitting.

Building on this success, the new measures being proposed are unashamedly ambitious.

Fiona Logan, chief executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said:

“The National Park is within an hour’s drive of more than 50% of Scotland’s population and this gives us specific problems, which – despite our best efforts – have been escalating.

“The package of measures we are proposing has been developed in conjunction with partners and local communities and reflects our wholesale commitment to dramatically improving the experience of the Park for both residents and visitors, whether they camp overnight, or come for the day to walk, swim, kayak, or simply enjoy a picnic.

“Our proposals include significant investment in camping facilities and new byelaws to support more sustainable amounts of camping and to tackle the damage caused by antisocial camping.”

The Board of the National Park Authority today approved consultation on proposals to introduce a package of measures in two new ‘management zones’: west Loch Lomond and the wider Trossachs lochs area, alongside minor changes to the existing, successful zone at east Loch Lomond. The proposed zones amount to less than 5% of the National Park. The proposed measures include:

  • A projected £10m of public/private sector investment in camping facilities over the next five years;
  • Continued working with Police Scotland to enforce existing and the proposed new legislation;
  • New byelaws, which make it an offence to cause damage to the natural environment and/or wildlife in the Park; regulate where visitors can camp and manage how laybys are used;
  • Continuing education on respect for the National Park with a focus on responsible camping.

The formal consultation on the proposed investment and byelaws will begin on Monday, October 13, and runs until January 12 2015.

The National Park Authority has identified potential sites for additional provision for camping, campervans and motorhomes and is asking “individuals, landowners, businesses, community enterprises and charities” who may be interested in setting up or running new facilities to get in touch via the Your Park consultation website www.thisisyourpark.org.uk.

Fiona Logan adds: “We are excited at the potential for these proposals to bring local communities, businesses and partners together to transform these problem areas into the world class destinations we know they can be.”

Davie Flynn, Divisional Commander, Police Scotland, said

“We have enjoyed a longstanding positive relationship with Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park and together with other partners continually strive to ensure the visitor experience is as good as it can be and that local communities are free from antisocial behaviour. Police Scotland welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the consultation process around the Park Authority’s proposals.”

Gordon Donaldson, who manages Forestry Commission Scotland’s Cowal & Trossachs District, said

“We very much welcome and support this consultation looking at ways to tackle the issue of irresponsible camping and we also look forward to helping facilitate any solutions put forward in as practicable a way as possible. Together with the Park Authority we have already enjoyed great success in tackling similar issues at Sallochy campsite, so we already know what a strong partnership approach can achieve.

Kevin Lilburn, chair of the East Loch Lomond Visitor Management Group said:

“Previously we suffered some sort of incident at my home pretty much every weekend in the summer, including litter, theft, vandalism and verbal or even physical intimidation.  Since the byelaws have been introduced, there have been none.  Not one. That speaks for itself and official statistics tell a similar story.  We have gone from a situation where my neighbours and I dreaded sunny days to one in which we can relax, enjoy where we live, and happily share the area with responsibly behaved visitors.”

 

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