Scottish Land & Estates has welcomed the ‘pragmatic’ proposals to manage camping around Loch Lomond and other areas in the Trossachs.
Responding to a consultation on the possible new measures, landowners said it was important that the right balance is struck to maintain access for the responsible majority but acknowledgment must be given to the damage that is frequently caused to the area by irresponsible behaviour.
Anne Gray, Policy Officer (Environment) at Scottish Land & Estates, said: “Landowners, farmers and other land managers, along with Park Authority staff, are in the unenviableposition of having to deal with the aftermath of weekend and summertime camping problems. This includes clearing up discarded tents, litter, human and animal waste on a significant scale. This places time and financial burdens on private landowners, managers and farmers, as well as on public services, in a way that was never the intention of Scotland’s outdoor access legislation. They are also left powerless in terms of protecting trees and other wildlife which have suffered considerable damage over the years.
“Indeed, Scottish Land & Estates’ member Luss Estates has called for the area under management to include the Loch Lomond islands. The current proposal does not extend that far. Luss Estates has on a number of occasions made clear its concerns about the pressure from visitors that wildlife on the islands is under. Simon Miller, Chief Executive of Luss Estates points out that the Loch Lomond islands are amongst the most heavily designated habitats in Scotland. Inchconnachan Island, for example, has otter as well as Ancient Woodland and other oak woodland designations. The islands were - until recently - the only place other than the Cairngorms where you could find capercaillie. Luss Estates does not wish to see camping banned from the islands altogether but, as elsewhere where the byelaws would apply, to be provided with a camping facility so that the impacts from camping can be brought back in balance with the environment.
“It is clear to that the type of camping activity that the Park Authority is trying to deal with is not responsible and is therefore outwith normal access rights. Indeed it is probably infringing the access rights of others who wish to enjoy these areas of the Park. We believe that the values of the National Park are being compromised by the current overuse and, in some instances, irresponsible use of wild camping opportunities and that the situation cannot continue.
“We are supportive of the pragmatic suite of management measures proposed to tackle the problem, which includes byelaws, education and alternative camping provision. We believe this mix should lead to a better and more enjoyable experience within the management zones whilst still leaving the vast majority of the Park without any additional management protocol.”