Having spent much of the last year trying to persuade decision makers and through reasoned argument and evidence, I was appalled by the decision of Aileen McLeod, the Environment Minister to approve new camping byelaws for Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. I very much admire Cameron McNeish, who had been trying to lobby quietly on this, for going public so quickly
http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/scottish-government-approves-lomond-camping-ban/0014345/. I wondered what I could add to that.
My first thought was to build on Cameron’s critique through a detailed criticism of the evidence presented by the Park. From the start, the Park has tried to use images to influence public opinion and very successfully as a survey in the Daily Record last year showed. Show enough abandoned tents and its easy to get people to agree camping should be banned. The press release accompanying the byelaws announcement was unprecedented in the way it has provided images to manipulate opinion.
I have responded with a critique which I have sent to the Government and which was published on the Walk Highland website http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/access-campaigner-sends-open-letter-on-camping-ban-to-minister/0014401/ or available here Open letter to Minister. I hope it will persuade people always to think critically about the images marketed by our National Parks and expose some of the hyprocisy and muddled thinking that lies behind them. That the Minister has been taken in by such images is, I believe, an appalling indictment for a Government that presents itself as taking evidence based decisions.
My second thought was to start this blog and website in order to make some of the information I and others have obtained about our National Parks public and to provide a platform for constructive criticism.