New Loch Lomond by-laws to restrict camping take effect

New by-laws which will restrict camping around one of Scotland's best known visitor destinations in an attempt to clamp down on anti-social behaviour and littering will come into effect tomorrow.

The by-laws are intended to cut down on wild camping which authorities claim leads to problems. Picture: Contributed

The seasonal legislation will prevent campers from setting up their tents across swathes of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs, the country’s first national park.

The authority which manages the beauty spot said the measures will help protect the “precious” natural habitat, with new facilities allowing visitors to camp responsibility.

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However, outdoors groups have criticised the new by-laws as unnecessary and warned they undermine access rights across what is one of the country’s most celebrated locations.

The legislation, which was approved by the Scottish Government last year, will cover much of the western shores of Loch Lomond, as well as several of the Trossachs lochs and the northern tip of Loch Long. It will be enforced during the peak tourism season between March and September.

It follows the introduction of a camping by-laws spanning the eastern shores of Loch Lomond, which the park authority said has helped to bring about a significant reduction in anti-social behaviour.

The authority said more than 300 camping and motorhome places will be available in the areas covered by the by-laws, although access groups claim that is insufficient to meet demand.

Gordon Watson, chief executive of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “The aim of the by-laws is to protect these precious locations and make sure everyone can enjoy them now and in the future. Given the dramatic transformation seen on East Loch Lomond since by-laws were introduced there in 2011, we are confident we will see improvements with more responsible behaviour and less damage to the environment.”

Brendan Paddy, director of Ramblers Scotland, said: “We’re disappointed that the park is going ahead with this plan. It undermines Scottish access rights by providing too few tent pitches to cope with demand and by charging to camp in previously-free areas.

“Campers often won’t get any toilets, drinking water or bins in return – and we fear the hassle, cost and insufficient number of permits may put people off visiting this wonderful area.”