Positive response to camping bye-laws in national park

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New camping bye-laws have received a largely positive response since being introduced at the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

The seasonal bye-laws, which apply to four per cent of the national park, are in place from March 1 to September 30 each year. The changes include how long people can stay in lay-bys.

This was brought in to manage the environmental damage caused by the sheer number of people camping in some areas and displaying anti-social behaviour.

People can still stop and rest in lay-bys, including staying overnight if necessary, but permits to stay in them will no longer be issued and this will be monitored by Police Scotland. New areas have been allocated for those seeking a permit.

Online surveys show that 85 per cent of respondents would recommend staying in one of the new areas and 92 per cent found it easy to purchase a permit.

The park authority has welcomed the positive response from campers and is taking proactive steps to address any teething issues and negative feedback.

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park Authority, said: ‘It is early days, but overall there has been a very positive reaction from visitors and we are already seeing a welcome difference in the areas we are trying to protect, with fewer abandoned campsites and irresponsible fire-lighting.

‘It is great to see such significant positive feedback on the camping experience from the survey responses too.

‘There has also been some negative, but mostly constructive, feedback and this, along with our own close monitoring, is being used to help us fine-tune things.

‘We’ve said all along that we would do this and the changes we are making demonstrate our commitment to listening and addressing issues where we can.

‘We particularly support the contribution from Police Scotland on how inappropriate encampments in some loch-shore lay-bys will be addressed to ensure these locations are accessible for more people to enjoy.

‘The changes we have made are all aimed at providing a more positive experience for visitors while protecting our busiest loch shores. We look forward to welcoming people camping and staying in motorhomes, and hearing their views as the season goes on.’

Further information about camping in the national park, including the bye-laws, detailed maps of the camping management zones and the booking system for camping permits can be found at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/camping.