If you have passed up or down the A82 this summer you may have noticed Lochs and Glens buses parked overnight in the Inveruglas car park – I have several times. This is one of the car parks where the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority want to introduce parking charges which will be enforced through number plate recognition technology (see here). I was intrigued about what arrangements might be in place now between Lochs and Glens, which is a prominent business in the park and is a member of Love Loch Lomond, and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority. So I asked and at the end of last week received this response.
I believe this gives a further insight into the warped priorities of this National Park Authority. Here is a business which appears to be using Inveruglas as a free depot to park its buses on a regular basis and the LLTNPA has simply allowed this to happen. It’s a business encampment! However, while the LLTNPA was using encampments in car parks to justify the proposed byelaws, it does not appear too worried about this one. Indeed I don’t recollect any mention of business encampments during the byelaw consultations – but maybe this was not happening back then.
What I find particularly interesting is the LLTNPA, whose rangers must know better than anyone from their daily patrols how often the buses are parked here, appears to be doing nothing about it. If they think its a problem, why not act? While there are specific remedies for encampments (see here) its much simpler with a business, you simply take out an interdict preventing them from ab/using your property.
If its not a problem though, what a missed opportunity. Lochs and Glens – and I have nothing against it as successful bus tour business – is a member of Love Loch Lomond, which represents local tourist businesses. Now while Love Loch Lomond supported the introduction of camping byelaws in its formal response to the Your Park consultation it was also in favour of more camping places, including new campsites, and specifically mentioned the need for improvements to toilet and litter infrastructure. Inveruglas is an ideal stopping off point on west Loch Lomond, its not close to houses and there is space for people to camp behind the scenic routes viewing tower. However, while Inveruglas has a toilet, you can only access it at present through the cafe which closes. So why not ask Lochs and Glens to install an additional toilet or a new external access to the existing one in return for free parking. This would enable people to camp or stay in their campervans overnight with minimal impact.
Unfortunately, the agenda of the LLTNPA is to restrict access to the shores of our lochs, not just through the camping byelaws, but by installing gates across all its car parks and introducing parking charges wherever they can. The LLTNPA is far too busy planning for this disaster to do anything creative like talk to Lochs and Glens and other businesses to come up with creative solutions to the issues. I suspect local businesses could even be persuaded to pay for the installation of litter bins on every layby on the A82 (its not a lot of money) – which would have a far greater impact on litter than the camping byelaws – if only the LLTNPA could persuade Argyll and Bute Council to get its bin lorries to stop as they trundle up the A82 and empty them.