Here’s how we need to tackle Scotland’s ‘dirty campers’ - Kenny MacAskill

The trashing of our countryside and natural environment’s a cause for concern whether you come at it from the rights of landowners or from the right to roam, which is why Murdo Fraser and I were concurring last week.

Abandoned tents in Loch Grannoch
Abandoned tents in Loch Grannoch

Indeed, the situation seems to have worsened with stories mounting of beauty spots desecrated and beaches devastated. I’ve had many in East Lothian complaining. And rightly so, as it’s making life miserable for locals and harming our wonderful natural environment.

Something needs done but it won’t be quick or easy but seeking to stop the worst excesses is essential. However, longer term planning is also required. Cameron McNeish, the author and outdoor specialist made the valid point on social media that we can’t stop the visits. They’re coming as is their right and the likes of RVs are here to stay, as many seek greater comfort than on the ground and under canvas.

What we must do is provide spaces for them to park or camp and ensure there are appropriate facilities available, which as he explained exists on the continent. Making that subject to a modest charge is also reasonable.

Both facilities and enforcement come at a cost. That allows for action to be taken against those who don’t comply.

Visiting National Parks in the USA there were sites that you had to book. Fail to stay there and comply or just park up anywhere, and the Rangers were on you. Something similar needs applied here, with a tourist tax supporting it.

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