The National Park Plans in the media spotlight

On Wednesday, James Stuart, new convener of the National Park had an agenda piece in the Herald to promote the consultation on the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park draft plan (see here).  It included a commitment to engage properly recreational organisations – a implicit indictment of the way the LLTNPA bludgeoned through its camping byelaws – but a welcome step in the right direction.    The response from Dave Morris (above) shows the disastrous consequences.


The wider point though is the LLTNPA did not just fail to consult with representative organisations, they failed to consult any of the people who actually camp and stop in campervans along the loch shores.  I saw a good illustration of this yesterday morning driving up the A82 to climb on the Ben.  There were campervans everywhere, in the Transport Scotland laybys which are exempt from the byelaws, on road verges (which are also exempt although the LLTNPA has not recognised this), in car parking areas where they are not (unless covered by the permit system as at Inveruglas and off-road.


campervans at Tarbert






Anyone who actually slept the night in the campervans in the above photo were committing criminal offences although I doubt any of the owners knew it.   What the photo illustrates is the byelaws are completely unenforceable – for campervans anyway.  If challenged by a Ranger all the campervan has to do is move onto a road verge or into a layby.    Complete nonsense.  The LLTNPA would have never got itself into this mess if it had actually talked to the people who use campervans.    So, how about some proper visitor surveys – instead of the latest dumbed down ones that say nothing – asking people what they need?  I suspect the answers will include “be left alone to make our own decisions” and Chemical disposal points.   Where are the chemical disposal points in the National Park (I have asked) and what are the plans to increase them?   Err……………..


And over to the Cairngorms National Park Authority


Following its lengthy coverage of National Parks in January, Scotland Out of Doors on Saturday included an interview Hamish Trench from the Cairngorms National Park Authority.  Its right at the start BBC out of doors.    Mark Stephen asked some searching questions about what partnership actually means and whether some partners have more power than others – highly recommended.    While Hamish Trench’s answers were carefully worded, the really important thing is that CNPA staff appear prepared now to articulate a vision for the National Park integral to which is large scale conservation.   While I don’t believe this can be achieved through the current ways of partnership working, which favour landed interests over everyone else, the fact that the CNPA is promoting this vision in public is in a sense a challenge to those interests.  Intelligent questions from the media, such as those put by Mark Stephen, can only help  change the parameters of the debate.

2 Comments on “The National Park Plans in the media spotlight

  1. As a localism resident (Stirling) and a campervan owner, If I had been asked, I would have suggested an Aires system just like they have in France. The whole prebooking nonsense does not work for motorhomes moving about ad-hoc, and £20quid a night sites providing facilities that I don’t need ain’t any good either. In France Aires are between €0 and €10 with the more expensive ones having toilets/etc, the free ones having nowt, and those in between offering paid-for waste disposal/fresh water. In France the Aires are often in villages as it creates a captive audience for the local businesses. Why do we have to be oh so short signed in Scotland?


  2. James Stuart says, “The park has already made great strides in this area through initiatives such as the introduction of camping management zones to protect fragile loch shores from degradation and reduce anti-social behaviour through Operation Ironworks with partners Police Scotland.” This is just bollocks they have introduced byelaws, Yes are they ever going to provide a solution to littering and toileting. Every right thinking person has told them we need an authority that will provide infrastructure in the park, how can it possible handle 4 million visitors when the toilets and cap parking are shut when the Rangers finish their shift. They need to stop blaming visitors for the ills in the park it’s is James Stuart and His board that are responsible through their in actions and wasting vast sums of limited financial resource on managing, engaging and enforcing instead of providing. They need to get real. He also tells us he’s going to listen to the outcome of the consultation in the same breath as he’s telling us of the Parks Authorities intention to implement what’s in the draft document, They CAN’T be trusted, Remember the bylaws won’t be extended beyond the East Shore, how did that work out for us?

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