National Parks week, litter and the history of access rights

IMG_5151 re-landscaped parking area by adjacent L.Venachar House small
Why do none of the LLTNP’s new landscaped parking areas in the Trossachs have litter bins?

Following my post on the LLTNPA’s unfortunate decision to use National Park’s week to launch its new litter enforcement powers, when other National Parks across the UK were celebrating the theme of adventure, there was an excellent letter in the Herald today from James Fraser, Chair of the Friends of Loch Lomond and Trossachs.   (While I have got to know James over the last year as we now both sit on the Executive of the Scottish Campaign for National Parks my post and his letter were written independently).    He made a number of points that are worth repeating:

  • the contrast between provision of litter bins in laybys on the A82 and A9 (both major arterial routes) is striking.  That the laybys along the A9 have much less litter is not a coincidence.
  • asking visitors at busy attractions to take litter home does not work (this was one of main themes of the Park’s press release covered in my post)
  • there are significant inefficiencies in litter collection with different authorities emptying different bins even with the bounds of one location

Yet more arguments for why the National Park, following its paper to the last Board Meeting on litter, needs a proper litter strategy in which all four constituent local authorities and Forestry Commission Scotland play their part.    The good thing though is that both the Park’s publicity and the public debate has moved on from campers being the source of all litter.

 

38 Degrees and National Parks week

 

Yesterday I received an email from 38 Degrees about National Parks week.  Now I think its great 38 Degrees are trying to support National Park’s week, and I have every sympathy for what is going on in England where the Government is threatening to turn National Parks into fully commercial organisations which have to fully fund themselves.

 

38 Degrees, which have a Scotland team, don’t seem to realise though what is actually going on in the LLTNP and instead put out the type of spin that they should be trying to combat:

 

“It was amazing! From all over Scotland, 38 Degrees members were out enjoying our national parks in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorms yesterday”

Well yes they were, as people on every day of the week, but not thanks to National Parks week.  The comment that followed “with events happening in every single national park in England and Wales” said it all.   They could not include Scotland in the message as LLTNPA, unlike CNPA, had not done anything to encourage people out adventuring.

 

I am delighted though that 38 Degrees have set a new challenge for themselves with the following quote:

 

“My parents met during the great trespass of Kinder Scout. So if it wasn’t for the campaign that created national parks, me, my sons and my grandchildren – we wouldn’t have existed!” – Trina, at Loch Lomond & the Trossachs

I don’t know whether 38 Degrees have quoted Trina correctly but the Kinder Scout mass trespass in 1932 was not about creating National Parks but rather about securing access to open countryside.  It was pressure for access that created the demand in England for National Parks – places where access would be secure.   Its therefore rather ironic that Trina stated this in LLTNP where the National Park Authority has been leading the charge to reverse access rights in Scotland with its proposed camping ban.  But then, perhaps like many other people, she was simply unaware of what the Park has been proposing.   I was reminded of this today when I asked someone at work what they had done at the weekend – I was surprised to hear she had gone camping on Loch Arklet.  There was only one other tent there – quite predictable from the Park’s own data.  She had no idea Loch Arklet was included in the camping ban and her response on hearing this was “that’s rubbish”.

 

The challenge for 38 Degrees I think is help make their members aware of the serious restrictions to access rights being proposed by the LLTNPA and to help mobilise their members to get these reversed.  I hope this includes a mass campaign of civil disobedience as at Kinder Scout if necessary.

 

 

1 Comment on “National Parks week, litter and the history of access rights

  1. As late as February this year Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority still declined to take any responsibility for the littering problem on the West Shore despite it being pointed out by a number of concerned individuals that THEIR failure to ensure proper litter management was the overwhelming cause of litter finding it’s way back into the ecosystem for a second time. Their response is incredible, referring a member of the public to Argyle and Bute Council to presumably make the contact LLTNPA have failed to do since it’s creation. An even more surprising situation when you consider they have a member of Argyle and Bute Council appointed to the Park Authority who evidently did not do his job properly. They should have resolved this problem as soon as they identified littering as an issue, I can only assume that as littering is an essential part of their justification for the byelaws, it cannot be seen to be solved until the byelaws are safely in place.
    Seven months later, little if any progress has been made. Here is the Interaction:
    Eric Fulton Could someone at LLTNP please explain why on every layby from Dumbarton to Cameron House, at Balloch there are bins for rubbish. Yet once past the stone LLTNP columns there are zero bins in the laybys? Perhaps if you supply bins then some of the messy folk might actually just take the hint and use them. Choosing instead to erect signage asking people to take their litter home is clearly an attempt to scrimp on refuse collection costs. 18 February at 12:38
    Lomond & Trossachs National Park Hi Eric, thanks for getting in touch. The authority responsible for litter facilities and collection on the stretch of road you mention is Argyll & Bute Council. If you would like to contact them you will find the details via the link below. Alternatively we can forward your comments to the Council, if you would like a response please direct message us with your contact details for us to pass on. http://www.argyll-bute.gov.uk/content/enquiriesform 18 February at 13:34
    Eric Fulton Thanks. I think this would be very helpful to the cleanliness of the main roadside areas of West Loch Lomond. There are bins at off road WC locations such as Luss, Tarbet, Inveruglas and Crianlarich which will obviously require regular emptying. I don’t understand why they (excuse the pun) refuse to place bins at layby locations. It wouldn’t be that much more costly to empty them when doing the WC parking ones mentioned. :)18 February at 13:57
    Ross McBeth Hi Eric, I’m not sure I agree with the analysis that it’s more costly to collect rubbish from bins than it is to pick it up from the road side. I find it very strange that with litter being a major issue within the National Park that the park does not demand the same refuse collection facilities as the surrounding less sensitive areas and then you are asked to complain to Argyle and Bute. Councillor George Freeman is a member National Park Authority Board so Argyle and Bute must be aware of their shortcomings.
    Further this litter on the west shore from a huge catchment area is being blown into the loch and transported by SW winds to the East shore exacerbating the problem there.
    As a strategy asking people to take their litter home is unbelievably naive. I think the National Park needs to start co-operating with the local councils and ensure those responsible for refuse management do their jobs. The litter is a byproduct of selling goods and foodstuffs which support the local economy and therefore demands a local solution. 20 February at 10:02
    Eric Fulton I meant that it wouldn’t be much more costly to empty layby bins if collected along with existing bins that require emptying anyway. Obviously there is a greater fiscal cost to collect rubbish from bins than to not do anything. As you say the environmental costs out way those meager savings in the long term. It’s very easy to see at a glance as you drive north that the laybys south of Balloch with bins appear to be reasonably clean and north of Cameron House where there are no bins the laybys are strewn with litter.
    Ironically the new bylaw will do nothing to improve this situation as most of it will be chucked out of vehicles that are merely stopping for breaks rather than overnighters. Bins and stiffer penalties for littering is what’s needed not extra bylaws. 20 February at 10:36
    Ross McBeth I knew what you what you meant Eric and from what you say it’s not a problem with littering but a problem with litter management. Loch Lomond National Park Authority really need to take responsibility for getting this sorted instead of playing the victim. 20 February at 10:54

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