Tayside and Central Scotland

Loch Lomond camping ban approved

Loch Lomond
Image caption The national park says it has no plans to ban camping elsewhere

New by-laws to ban camping in certain areas of east Loch Lomondside have been approved by the Scottish government.

The legislation, proposed by the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, is designed to tackle the impact of "irresponsible camping".

Camping is to be outlawed between Drymen and Rowardennan from 1 March to 31 October every year. The law comes into effect from 1 June 2011.

Those found breaching the by-laws could be fined up to £500.

The ban will be policed by park rangers and officers from Central Scotland Police.

A public consultation on the plan was held by the national park last year. Of the 286 responses, 60% were in favour of the ban, the park said.

The new seasonal laws make it an offence to camp in tents or other shelters in the nine-mile stretch between Drymen and Rowardennan, outside designated camping areas.

'Compromise'

But the authority has said it has no plans to ban camping in other parts of the national park, which contains 21 Munros.

In a separate announcement, Scottish ministers also gave Stirling Council permission to ban people drinking alcohol in the same area as the camping ban from 1 June.

Work has now started on a new "informal" campsite at Sallochy, which will be managed by the Forestry Commission Scotland.

Dave Morris, the director of Ramblers Scotland, who campaigned against the by-laws, said he recognised a compromise had been made by making the ban seasonal.

"We are pleased that it's not an all-year ban," he said.

"But we think it would be much better if they made the by-laws apply in July and August only, so that outwith those months we could have seen what the difference was."

He said Ramblers Scotland would monitor the situation closely, adding: "Part of our reservations are fears that they would push for by-laws elsewhere. We would oppose such proposals."

But national park chief executive Fiona Logan said she did not believe there were any other areas of the park where similar bans would be "appropriate".

"We really want responsible people to come to the park and enjoy themselves," she said.

"This is about tackling anti-social behaviour and not penalising West Highland Way walkers or those people with a backpack on."

'Increasing pressure'

Ms Logan said the measures had been welcomed by local residents who had complained for many years about informal camping on the Lochside.

But she told BBC Scotland that the by-laws were not permanent and could be revoked if the park was confident the problems had been successfully tackled.

"We would like not to have these laws in three years," she said.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said east Loch Lomond had come under "increasing pressure" from litter, camp fires and anti-social behaviour.

"These measures are designed to protect and preserve the beauty of the area whilst still providing access for responsible campers," she said.

The by-laws will be reviewed after three years.

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