Happy campers cheer farmers

Permitting farmers to manage part of their holdings as temporary campsites could help rural Scotland benefit from staycations - and curb the problem of dirty camping.

This was the plea made by landowners, land managers and farmers as Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and NFU Scotland to the country’s planning chief, John McNairney.

Planning controls are currently relaxed in the pandemic lockdown, with a policy of non-enforcement in place towards those using their land for non-agriculture purposes for more than the statutory 28 days.

However the organisations want the Scottish government to allow farmers to become part of the solution – and are calling on it to follow the examples set in England and Wales where permitted development rights (PDR) have been extended to 56 days. They claimed this would give greater security to businesses offering temporary camp sites to help manage the problem.

“Dirty camping is more than just an eyesore. It can have serious social, economic and environmental implications,” said SLE policy advisor, Gavin Mowat.

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He said that during the pandemic land managers had been able to ameliorate the impacts of dirty camping by setting aside parts of their holdings to allow for visitors to camp safely and in a way that respected nature.

But he said that without an official extension of the PDR to 56 days, there was a concern that the policy of non-enforcement could end abruptly, a situation which was hindering land managers’ abilities to plan for the busy summer period.

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