Over 20 people charged over environmental damage at Scottish beauty spots

Environmental groups have condemned the “selfish, irresponsible” behaviour

21 people were charged over environmental damage in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park over the weekend.

Environmental groups and national park bosses have condemned "selfish, irresponsible" littering as they urged Scots to take their rubbish home when visiting beauty spots.

Some parts have been "swamped" by litter and even affected by human waste as people begin to travel further afield as lockdown eases, Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) said.

Environmental groups have condemned the “selfish, irresponsible” behaviour

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Is it urging people to act more responsibly and keep in mind that waste collection services at beauty spots and car parks may not yet be operating.

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The plea is being backed by Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful, Scottish Water, Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Cairngorms National Park Authority.

Simon Hodgson, FLS chief executive, said: "Although the travel limit has now been lifted, we are still in the process of getting staff back to work with new, safe working practices that comply with the Scottish Government guidance.

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Environmental groups have condemned the “selfish, irresponsible” behaviour

"Many of our contractors are in the same boat so waste collection services might not yet be operational. And while many FLS car parks are now open, the toilets at some of our sites are not.

"So as Scotland gets re-accustomed to travelling further afield for leisure pursuits, we are appealing to the public to help avoid repeats of the selfish, irresponsible behaviour that over the past few weeks has seen many sites swamped by litter - or even despoiled by human waste.

"This sort of anti-social behaviour not only creates a significant health hazard but also eats into the limited resources that land managers have at their disposal."

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Barry Fisher, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: "Littering is illegal and unacceptable at any time. But now, when we are living through a health pandemic, it is really not okay to drop litter, to leave it in a park or on a beach, and to expect someone else to have to clear it up.

Environmental groups have condemned the “selfish, irresponsible” behaviour

"Our message is clear - bin it, and if you can't, take it home."

National guidance in Scotland says camping is not permitted until July 15, when the next phase of lockdown restrictions are lifted.

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But over the weekend, campers left behind broken glass, black bags full of rubbish, chairs and sleeping bags in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Nik Turner, litter prevention manager for the park, said: "We want the national park to be a place everyone can enjoy - not to be a people's dump.

"It is incredibly frustrating to have to spend significant amounts of time and money collecting litter when this problem could be completely avoided if people simply put their litter in bins or took it home with them."

Additional reporting by PA

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