Last week I received a reply from the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park to my question about how much the new parking meters at Inveruglas had cost. I made the mistake first time of asking how much it had cost the LLTNPA to install these meters and was told (eir-2016-040-response-car-parks-and-charges) £562.20 plus two hours labour from National Park staff. So, I had to ask again but now know (eir-2016-050-response-cost-inveruglas-pay-and-display) they cost £7846. However, because the LLTNPA tendered for an Automatic Number Plate Recognition system for this car park (see here) almost as soon as it had installed the meters, this money has been wasted as new equipment will be required.
Its a bit like dreaming how you might spend the lottery but I would have spent the £8408.20 on litter bins for the west Loch Lomond laybys and then asked (or shamed if necessary) Argyll and Bute Council to get their bin lorries to empty them as they drive past. On the internet and heritage litter bins cost somewhere between £150 and £350. Purchase through a public sector contract and maybe the National Park would get a discount and the delivery thrown in. Even 24 high quality bins would be a start.
There was a very good article on the management of litter in the Voice, the magazine of the Friends of Loch Lomond and Trossachs, which came out this week. Along with a photo of overflowing litter bins at Balmaha, it pointed out that every layby along the A9 has bins, unlike the A82, and there is no litter problem.
The Voice might have added that the A93 on the other side of the Cairngorms National Park is the same and what’s good enough for Royal Deeside should also be good enough for Loch Lomondside.
The level of waste at Inveruglas is paltry compared to the £345k that the LLTNPA budgeted to spend this year on creating camping places for which there is no demand at Loch Chon (see here). And that is likely to be dwarfed by the resources the LLTNPA will have to devote to trying to police the proposed camping byelaws.
I believe the main explanation of this waste of resources is less management competence than the LLTNPA getting its priorities wrong. If instead of trying to police campers the LLTNPA were to focus on basic infrastructure such as toilets (the Voice has another excellent article on the impact of staff cuts on the public toilets at Luss), litter bins and barbecue pits, it would have far more chance of success. This infrastructure would cost far less than the extension of camping byelaws and would remove the need for the National Park to start charging for everything, which is what led to the stupid decision to install car parking meters in Inveruglas in the first place.