Loch Lomond wild camping consultation
Trust calls for education rather than legislation to deal with anti-social behaviour.
The Trust has joined other outdoor organisations in calling for the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority to reconsider controversial plans to extend restrictions on wild camping through new bye laws.
In its submission to the ‘Your Park’ consultation – which closed last week – the Trust argued that the problem of litter, vandalism and other forms of anti-social behaviour should be tackled through education rather than legislation.
John Low, Policy Officer for the John Muir Trust said: “Some of our John Muir Award participants have expressed dismay about the scale of the litter problem around Loch Lomond, so we recognise the real concerns of the Park Authority and agree that action is necessary.
“But the challenge is to find the best answer. We are concerned that restrictions on the few could impinge on the hard won ‘right to roam’ for the many.
“We also feel that banning wild camping within the park could simply shift the problem of anti-social behaviour elsewhere, instead of bringing about a fundamental change in attitude.
“We believe the most effective way to improve people’s behaviour is not through legislation and regulation, but through support, engagement and education.”
Since 2013, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park Authority has, in partnership with the Trust, helped deliver 1,200 John Muir Awards inside the park and in neighbouring communities.
“We highly value our relationship with the National Park,” said John Low. “Since the opening of the park and now more so with our partnership, we have worked effectively together to encourage people from across the west of Scotland to appreciate nature and wild places.”
“We believe this type of approach will ultimately provide a more enduring solution to the problem of anti-social behaviour than new bye-laws.”
The Trust has also suggested that if the National Park does decide to introduce new bye-laws, then there should be further consultation on the wording and timeframes of the legislation.