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Background Info

Currently there is no legislation that local authorities can utilise to allow them to prohibit wild camping.

The action I am calling for in my petition would allow local authorities, in consultation with the relevant public bodies and subject to public consultation, to create zones where wild camping is prohibited to protect the environment and infrastructure of an area.

The issue of wild camping has been apparent since the inception of the popular NC500 route around the north of Scotland. Its impact on our environment and infrastructure has been considerable and it is becoming exceptionally problematic for local authorities and public bodies to deal with at great expense to the public purse. It is clear from my initial campaign that this is an issue affecting all parts of Scotland and that informal encouragement has not been sufficient to stop the degradation or our infrastructure and environment. Even with increased focus on responsible camping from public authorities and the NC500 organisation the situation appears to be getting worse rather than better.

The route of the NC500 is becoming totally unsustainable for small rural communities in the North of Scotland. The infrastructure is showing signs of overuse and disrepair, with the local authority unable to pay for improvements and repairs. Fragile roadsides and passing places are being used by campervans and tents as free overnight pitches and this is not only having a negative impact on the physical infrastructure, but also on road safety.

Many locations also have problems with litter and campervan toilets being emptied at the side of the road. Environmentally speaking, many places that are not appropriate for wild camping are suffering and there is little that the local authority or any public agency can do to prevent people from camping in inappropriate places.

Any legislation which limited wild camping would also require to be flexible enough to allow local authorities to impose wild camping bans during periods of extreme dry weather. There have been many devastating wildfires throughout Scotland ignited as a result of careless camping.

Introducing no camp zones would allow local authorities to encourage responsible tourism and limit the burden that is currently placed upon them by repairs and environmental work to rectify the problems created by wild campers. It would also bolster the local economy of fragile areas by encouraging campers to use campsites and dispose of their waste responsibly there.

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