Following my post (see here) on the discussion of litter at the last Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Board meeting, it was good to see Peter Jack’s lead letter to the Herald. I hope this will help bring the failures of the National Park to the attention of a different audience. (And if you didn’t see the excellent letter from Dave Morris the previous week on the VisitScotland initiative to promote wild camping just as the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority is trying to ban it………….. (see here))
- Litter strategy for 5 Lochs Area – planned 13/14; never delivered
- Implement new powers rangers to award fixed penalty notices – planned 13/14 – delivered June 2016
- Creation of recycling points – apparently abandoned e.g Loch Venachar north carpark constructed without recycling point which was on original plans
- Litter signage; never delivered (thought Park now spending £100k on no camping signs)
There appear two explanations for why the 5 Lochs Visitor Management Plan appears to have ground to a halt in 2013. First, Grant Moir, the driving force in the LLTNPA behind the 5 Lochs Plan left the Park Authority in that year. He was replaced by as Director of Conservation and Visitor Management by Gordon Watson who is now Chief Executive. Second, in September 2013 the Board started its secret discussion of camping byelaws. Whether the change in direction was decided by the LLTNPA Board or its senior staff, I am still trying to find out, but it does seem clear is that in 2013 the Park abandoned its plans to tackle litter and instead started to focus on how it could ban campers.
Since my post on litter and the Board Meeting, the LLTNPA has responded to questions I asked about the long delayed Keep Scotland Beautiful litter audit (see here). While the LLTNPA published the litter report soon after receiving it on 18th November, EIR 2016-063 Response date KSB litter report received, what’s interesting is that the LLTNPA had three meetings with Keep Scotland Beautiful about the Report in April, June and September. Its hard to see how LLTNPA could have met KSB about the report unless it had been provided with some documentation, and harder still to understand why there was 3 months between meetings unless KSB had been asked to undertake extensive re-writes. If this is right, the fact the LLTNPA holds no drafts – as stated in the letter – suggests that it has deliberately decided to destroy them. This suggests that the first draft of the report may have contained some inconvenient truths LLTNPA did not wish to see in print. (If this interpretation is wrong I would be very happy to publish a response from the Park explaining how it could have three meetings about one report and not hold any information on it).
All of this adds further support to Peter Jack’s theory that in order to restrict camping rights, it has suited the Park not to have tackled the litter problem. Unfortunately I think it is unlikely the Scottish Government will order a full inquiry into the Park’s failure to tackle litter because any objective look at litter would involve an examination of the failures of its own agency, Transport Scotland, to keep the verges along the trunk roads in the National Park clean. Keep Scotland Beautiful was not apparently asked to look at that.