ARGUMENT RAGES OVER PROPOSED LOCH LOMOND WILD CAMPING CONTROLS

Read about the argument surrounding recent proposals on wild camping in the National Park and have your say in our poll

Illustration photo of ARGUMENT RAGES OVER PROPOSED LOCH LOMOND WILD CAMPING CONTROLS

A recent proposal to introduce camping byelaws in certain hotspots of the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park has been fiercely debated in a recent public consultation.

Measures were implemented to control camping in the east Loch Lomond area in 2011, and now the Park Authority would like restrictions on a further 5% of land - in parts where pressures are worst.

The proposal has been met by strongly held views on all sides.

Ramblers Scotland and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (MCofS) have joined forces, arguing that Scottish rights of access should not be lessened.

"It's truly disgraceful that Scotland's first National Park, with a primary purpose to promote public enjoyment of the countryside, is now proposing to remove a right to camp for the responsible majority," said Andrea Partridge of the MCofS. "A right that was enshrined in law is being eroded by the very organisation that should be promoting responsible access."

The stance held by the National Park is that the total freedom for campers is being abused in certain parts and that control is necessary.

Chief Executive of the park Gordon Watson said: “We understand that there is strong feeling on the part of outdoors enthusiasts about their ‘right to roam’. However, some of the arguments presented seem intent on downplaying the atrocious damage that is being caused to the environment of a National Park, as well as the impact on residents and visitors.

Support for the Park's proposed measures came from Scottish Land & Estates, an organisation that represents landowners in Scotland. Their statement read: “It is clear to us that the type of camping activity that the Park Authority is trying to deal with is not responsible and is therefore outwith normal access rights. Indeed it is probably infringing the access rights of others who wish to enjoy these areas of the Park".

The organisation also called for an extension of the proposal to include the islands of Loch Lomond in order to protect their plants and wildlife, suggesting that while they would not like to see camping banned outright, they would like to see it controlled with the provision of camping facilities instead.

Following the consultation, park officials will be weighing up the quality and validity of the points made before a recommendation will be presented to the Park's board and in turn to the Scottish Government. As such, it is likely to take some time before the park reveals whether any changes will be made to the proposals.

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Do you agree with the National Park Authority? Should regulations be introduced to control certain 'hotspots'?
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