The Loch Lomond & Trossachs National Park proposals to introduce new Bye Laws restricting wild camping on Loch Lomond’s highly protected islands have been welcomed by Luss Estates.
As owner and custodian of four of the loch’s principal islands – Inchconnachan, Inchtavannach, Inchmoan and Inchlonaig – as well as a number of smaller ones, Luss Estates is committed to protecting and conserving these precious habitats which are home to endangered species including capercailzie, osprey and otter. They are amongst Scotland’s most protected sites, with multiple designations as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI’s). In addition, three of the four islands are Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas under the European Union Natura Directive (2000).
Simon Miller, Chief Executive of Luss Estates, said: “As one of Loch Lomond’s largest tourism businesses and a significant local employer, Luss Estates is mindful of tourism’s importance to the local economy. However, unrestricted wild camping poses a potentially devastating threat to the integrity of these very small, delicate sites and habitats. Furthermore, we cannot subscribe to the view apparently taken by some that a reported decline in the population of an endangered species is reason to give up on its protection – quite the contrary.
“In contrast to many similarly protected sites, these islands lie close to Scotland’s largest population centres, and are at the heart of one of Scotland’s most welcoming and popular visitor destinations. Under these circumstances, current legislation falls well short of enabling Luss Estates and other custodians adequately to manage wild camping on the islands and thus conserve these island habitats in the national interest.
“Luss Estates therefore welcomes proposals outlined in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Bye Law Review and urges the Authority to adopt the third of its three Options, that is to say camping to be restricted to designated sites, during certain times of the year, with dogs to be kept on a lead at all times. We are confident that as an interim solution this strikes a workable balance between the needs of conservation and visitor access.
“It is, nevertheless, a compromise, and should Option 3 be adopted by the National Park, Luss Estates will urge the Authority to give very careful consideration to which, if any, of these island habitats could be sacrificed for the benefit of the remainder.”
Luss Estates looks forward to the publication of the Consultation findings, and in working with the Authority, whilst at the same time continuing to seek a review by Government of wild camping as currently enshrined under Scotland’s Right to Roam legislation, and it’s too frequent incompatibility with nature conservation and habitat protection.