Tayside and Central Scotland

Consultation over Loch Lomond camping bylaw proposals

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

A consultation is to be held over proposed measures to cut anti-social behaviour and vandalism in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

The park authority has proposed measures including bylaws banning camping without a permit at some popular loch shores, alongside a £10m investment in campsites.

A meeting of the board warned parts of the park are being "severely damaged" by over-use and anti-social campers.

The consultation runs until 12 January.

There has been a marked reduction in problems at East Loch Lomond since similar measures were introduced there three years ago, with an 81% drop in antisocial behaviour recorded.

However, littering, fire damage, abandoned campsites and summer-long caravan encampments setting up in laybys remain an issue in other parts of the park.

Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption The park board warned parts of the park are being "severely damaged" by anti-social visitors
Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption Two new management zones are proposed for areas popular with campers

To combat this, seasonal bylaws have been proposed for the west side of Loch Lomond, the north-east tip of Loch Long and many lochs in the Trossachs.

These would make it an offence to camp outside of authorised sites without a permit, or to cause damage to the area or wildlife.

Kevin Lilburn, chairman of the East Loch Lomond Visitor Management group, said the scheme in place there has made a huge difference.

He 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 bylaws 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."

Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption Bylaws were introduced at East Loch Lomond three years ago
Image copyright Loch Lomond park authority
Image caption Littering and fire-raising are among the problems faced at over-used loch shores

The two proposed "management zones", combined with the existing one at East Loch Lomond, would amount to less than 5% of the 720 square miles the park covers.

'Specific problems'

Fiona Logan, chief executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, said the plans being put out for consultation were "unashamedly ambitious".

She said: "The 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."

The "Your Park" consultation will begin on 13 October and run until January.

The authority is seeking input from "individuals, landowners, businesses, community enterprises and charities" who may be interested in setting up or running new facilities.

This would be supported by £10m from the park authority, which has already identified potential sites for additional camping, campervans and motor homes.

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