Perthshire North MSP, Mr John Swinney, Perth and North Perthshire MP, Mr Pete Wishart, and Councillor Mike Williamson (SNP) met yesterday with constituents affected by recent instances of dirty camping.
The meeting, which took place on the banks of Loch Tummel, gave constituents an opportunity to share their experiences of the past few weeks, and also to discuss steps that can be taken to reverse the trend of anti-social behaviour. Following this meeting, the three SNP representatives took part in a Zoom call with residents from all across the constituency to continue discussing this topic.
Commenting, Mr Swinney said:
“It was useful to speak with affected locals about the negative impact that dirty camping is having on their lives.
“This is a complex problem, and one that cannot be solved with one action or by one organisation. Rather, it needs a genuinely collaborative approach with continued engagement on the issue. I am confident that there is now an acceptance from all stakeholders that the current situation is not sustainable, and that substantive action is required.
“I am thankful to Police Scotland for their continued engagement on this issue, and for the additional resources that they have allocated to policing dirty camping hotspots. However, I will be looking to speak directly with the Chief Inspector to advocate for tougher enforcement of existing legislation. A key part in tackling this issue is demonstrating clearly that there will be repercussions for those who behave in an unacceptable manner.”
Mr Wishart added:
“We know that there are significant issues with irresponsible camping at various locations across Scotland. Whilst it is not a new problem in Perthshire, the lack of other options caused by coronavirus has seen an increase in people coming to camp irresponsibly. Let me be clear that I am not talking about genuine wild campers. Those who stick to the rules and leave no trace should be welcomed.
“We are seeing significant problems at places like Loch Rannoch, Loch Tummel and Clunie Loch. Issues include abandoned cars, pollution caused by incorrect disposal of human waste and people choosing to just abandon camping equipment rather than bother to take it home with them. There is no silver bullet to resolve this issue, but I am quietly confident that they work we have started in coordinating a multi-agency approach will have a significant impact.”
Mr Williamson added:
“It seems that there is now a real willingness from all involved to take action on this important issue.
“It is absolutely clear that the current situation is not acceptable. To that end, I will continue to advocate for common sense solutions that balance the rights of people to come and enjoy Perthshire with the rights of local residents to live their lives free from fear and disturbance.
“I am grateful for the continued support of John Swinney and Pete Wishart in tackling this issue, and also to my affected constituents who have chosen to proactively work with us to arrive at a long-term solution.”