Tayside and Central Scotland

Bid to tackle anti-social campers in Highland Perthshire

Wild camping rubbish Image copyright Liz Nicolson
Image caption Wild campers have been accused of littering at Highland Perthshire beauty spots

Campaigners in an area of Highland Perthshire are trying to tackle anti-social campers whom they claim are destroying the environment.

Some residents want to see by-laws introduced so that no-one can camp without a paid permit in certain areas.

Image copyright Liz Nicolson
Image caption Camping equipment and empty alcohol bottles have been left at some sites

Doreen Payne, who lives beside Loch Tummel says she has been forced to clean up the mess left behind by campers every weekend in the summer.

She said: "They arrive on a Friday, they leave on a Sunday.

"There's usually quite a lot of noise because they are well tanked-up, you can find all the lager cans once they've gone.

"They also seem to have these cheap tents and seats and things because they just don't take them away with them.

"Broken glass is another big problem."

Image copyright Liz Nicolson
Image caption Bonfires on open ground have also been discovered by the shore

Steven Rowarth, the warden at nearby Loch Rannoch, has the unenviable task of getting rid of human waste left by campers.

He said: "The list of infections you can gain just by walking among an area that has been affected by that is horrendous."

SNP councillor Mike Williamson, who represents the Highland ward on Perth and Kinross Council, is less convinced that by-laws are the solution at Lochs Tummel and Rannoch.

He said: "I think most of the issues that are currently developing can be dealt with under existing legislation.

"We need to find out when interventions need to be made, are there more dustbins needed, more toilet facilities or whatever."

Image copyright Richar Webb/Geograph
Image caption Loch Tummel is a popular spot for wild camping

Meanwhile, a petition has been launched calling for "no wild camp" zones in Scotland after concerns about littering and anti-social behaviour in the far north of Scotland.

A Highland councillor said the popularity of the North Coast 500 tourist route had led to more littering in certain beauty spots.

Sutherland SNP councillor Kirsteen Currie's petition calls on the Scottish government to give councils the power to ban wild camping in certain areas.

Those who campaigned for the right to roam in Scotland are opposed to restricting access to the countryside.

Danny Carden from Ramblers Scotland said: "What we'd really encourage is strong enforcement of the existing laws to try and tackle any anti-social behaviour or vandalism or litter."

Mr Carden said combining this with education and more low-cost camp sites would be preferable to "costly by-laws" which he claims are not effective or a "good approach."

'Leave no trace'

A Scottish government spokeswoman said that littering was "unacceptable" and fixed penalties of up to £2,500 could be imposed for those prosecuted.

She said:"We want as many people as possible to enjoy Scotland's outstanding natural beauty but with that privilege comes a responsibility to ensure that they are not spoiling it for others.

"We encourage anyone considering wild-camping to adhere to the principle of 'leave no trace' and take waste away when vacating the site."

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