Tayside and Central Scotland

Camping crackdown approved by Loch Lomond park board

Loch Lomond tent cow Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption The proposed bylaws would make it an offence to camp outside authorised sites without a permit

A ban on camping without a permit in areas of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has been approved unanimously by its board.

A number of measures are to be brought in to protect the park environment from anti-social behaviour.

The plans drew criticism from hillwalkers during a consultation, which drew more than 300 responses.

Having won approval from the park board, the plans will now go before Scottish government ministers.

The proposals would see four "camping management" areas set up on the busiest loch shores, covering 3.7% of the park's total area, with investment in new official camping facilities, including 300 new camping places.

Similar measures were previously put in place at parts of east Loch Lomond, which were described as a "wide-ranging success".

Bosses said parts of the park were becoming "severely degraded" by high volumes of campers, with some irresponsible visitors littering, starting fires, cutting down trees and abandoning caravans and campsites.

Image copyright Loch Lomond National Park Authority
Image caption The plans will now go before Scottish ministers for final approval
Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption New management zones are proposed for areas popular with campers

During the consultation, the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and ramblers Scotland voiced "serious concerns", saying the plans would "create immense public confusion".

Linda McKay, convener of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority board, said there had been "tremendous support" for the plans.

She said: "We appreciate the range of views from many different interests.

"However, we believe our duty, first and foremost, is to conserve the environment of this special place for the enjoyment of this, and future, generations.

"Conscious of our responsibility to promote access and recreation in the park, the board has sought to take a proportionate approach; introducing a range of measures designed to protect the special characteristics of this designated area of Scotland, while also striving to enhance provision for those who will continue to want to camp."

Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption Park bosses said bylaws introduced at east Loch Lomond had made a positive impact
Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption The park board warned anti-social visitors were causing "atrocious damage"

Having won the backing of the board, the proposal is to be sent on to the Scottish ministers for approval. A further opportunity for interested parties to make representations or objections directly to the Scottish government will follow.

Police Scotland, the Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage all responded positively during the consultation.

Iain Rennick, area manger for Scottish Natural Heritage, said the group had worked closely with the park board on the proposals.

He said: "Together, we're keen to protect the interests and rights of those who wish to exercise responsible access in the park as well as those who live and work there.

"We particularly welcome the intention to invest in new camping facilities, as this will ensure that the high demand at peak periods is catered for and a better overall visitor experience is provided."

Image copyright Loch Lomond National Park Authority
Image caption Camping management zones are proposed along popular loch shores

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