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Future potential post covid legislative changes

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 ScraggyGoat 26 Jun 2020

All over Scotland the roadsides, beaches and easily accessible glens are going to be inundated with people 'wild' camping post covid restrictions being relaxed. Given there will be an anti-social element among them, that many locals were fed up previously, and some landowners are likely going to orchestrate a slick political campaign against it (i.e. on environmental grounds, and rallying the local population so that its not seen as just rich-toffs versus the plebs), plus some politicians have seen this as an easy vote winner; I can see the winds of legislative change coming.

What other legislative changes do you think will happen in a post-Covid world, that will affect hill goers in Scotland?

Post edited at 11:19
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In reply to ScraggyGoat:

No way!

Ps I live in the Highlands

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 DancingOnRock 26 Jun 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

I think you’ll find the government are planning on relaxing restrictions, not imposing more. 
 

Yesterday they were talking of changing planning restrictions for pubs. Which will mean more rowdy people outside in car parks converted to beer gardens. 
 

If we are to find destinations for 60m people in the U.K. they’re going to have to ease planning restrictions on holiday parks and beach amenities, extend car parking around the mountains. Improve footpaths. More cafes and toilets.

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 ScraggyGoat 26 Jun 2020
In reply to The Watch of Barrisdale:

So do I, but I'm not unaware  of an underlying discontent, and also the presence of 'affluent' interests. I'm not advocating or trying to promote change, and would be deeply nervous about any proposed.

Post edited at 11:33
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 andrew ogilvie 26 Jun 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

I'm slightly conflicted about this (as I've certainly done it) but limiting "wild" camping and van life camping right next to the road might not necessarily be a bad idea?

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 kathrync 26 Jun 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

Yeah, I understand where you are coming from and I can see this happening too. There has been local discontent in honeypot areas for a while and I can well understand the frustration with hordes of roadside campers blocking access, acting antisocially, lighting fires innappropriately and leaving waste behind in places like Glen Etive. Anxiety levels are higher than usual at the moment and I suspect that traffic will increase as lockdown eases and people find they can't go abroad, so I can absolutely see the existing tensions worsening.

I would also be extremely nervous about any proposed changes as I would expect that those who wild camp sensibly (away from the road, leave no trace) would suffer adversely through no fault of their own and the "affluent" interest, as you put it, have a tendency to get their own way. Having said that, I wouldn't immediately dismiss some limits on camping immediately adjacent to roads if they were well thought out and implemented sensibly as I think there is cause for concern. Difficult subject!

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In reply to kathrync:

It's a thorny topic alright! We ran a piece arguing the pros and cons of a legislative solution late last year. I guess the predicted post-lockdown rush is about to throw the issue into stark relief (and probably into the eye of the media):

https://www.ukhillwalking.com/articles/opinions/roadside_camping_bans_-_the_case_for_and_against-12256

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In reply to ScraggyGoat:

Would it really harm people if wild camping was only allowed a certain minimum distance from a road?  I think realistically, camper vans in laybys aside (which is a bit different), any "proper" wild camper is not likely to want to pitch just over the hedge from a main road anyway.

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 Mark Stevenson 26 Jun 2020
In reply to ScraggyGoat:

Interesting question.

Below is an extract from a recent contribution I made to another online debate. It was in reply to a very passionate rant against even the slightest suggestion of temporary "permits" for access and/or parking within a National Park.

I was partially playing Devil's Advocate and being provocative. However, I think it is still a valid commentary on the current and potential future trajectory of UK legislation and regulations as regards travel and access:

"Across multiple areas there are often three main policy options [to regulate or control unwanted behaviours or actions], or combinations thereof:

  1. Bans or prohibitions 
  2. Permits or quotas
  3. Taxes or charges

The current culture in the UK as regards travel and access is the result of a long trajectory towards fewer restrictions (Access Land, Rights of Way etc. ), an absence of permits and only indirect charges (parking fees, fuel duty, road tax, APD, general taxation).  We are so used to it that we tend not to question the current paradigms around the right to roam and ubiquitous private vehicle use. However that doesn't mean they are particularly sensible, equitable or sustainable. In fact the opposite is possibly true and many recent trends are in exactly the opposite direction with various bans, permits and charges being introduced. E.g. the ban on wild camping by Loch Lomond, the National Trust Active Outdoor Providers Scheme, Green Lane restrictions, bans on diesel cars from cities, congestion charges, residents parking permits, workplace parking levies, drone licencing and putative measures like tourist taxes, limits on second homeownership and short-term rentals, through traffic restrictions in Birmingham or even possibly a camper van levy on Skye. 

In the UK, our response to both the global climate emergency and the management of our own countryside is distinctly poor. The approach of our National Parks is at best muddled and grossly underfunded. Therefore, I find it hard to passionately support the status quo. I certainly don't know how to properly reconcile the positives of outdoor recreation with the multiple adverse impacts it creates both locally and globally. In fact, these days I sometimes doubt very much that the positives do come out on top.

In the future, if permits, or vehicle bans or even a policy of local houses (and local mountains) for local people are what we need to protect communities, preserve landscapes or save the planet I don't think I'd have a problem with it. Believing that Britain and our National Parks are immune from hard or potentially unpopular choices is a delusion and another case of flawed British exceptionalism. Whether it is Yosemite, Mecca or Everest, permits or quotas are just a tool to match demand to capacity. I don't believe they, or any other options are morally wrong or should be dismissed out of hand."

In summary, I think that there will certainly be changes proposed in response to the current and evolving situation. I'm willing to consider any specific proposal on its individual merits and not base my response on an idealistic ideological position or a knee jerk defense of the status quo. Equally, I'll strongly oppose anything that is driven solely by Nimbyism rather than attempting to address genuine environmental issues. 

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> Would it really harm people if wild camping was only allowed a certain minimum distance from a road?

Well it would be a real pain in the neck when all I want to do is get a night's sleep having driven from somewhere and before moving on in the morning.

>  I think realistically, camper vans in laybys aside (which is a bit different), any "proper" wild camper is not likely to want to pitch just over the hedge from a main road anyway.

Why are camper vans different from car camping?

Sometimes I want to stick a tent up by the road and sometimes in the middle of nowhere - it depends what I am doing. 

Post edited at 14:04
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 rogerwebb 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

> Well it would be a real pain in the neck when all I want to do is get a night's sleep having driven from somewhere and before moving on in the morning.

> >  I think realistically, camper vans in laybys aside (which is a bit different), any "proper" wild camper is not likely to want to pitch just over the hedge from a main road anyway.

> Why are camper vans different from car camping?

> Sometimes I want to stick a tent up by the road and sometimes in the middle of nowhere - it depends what I am doing. 

It would be less of an issue if everyone took their waste away. The laybys in Glen Carron, for example, got pretty disgusting over the last few summers. 

Perhaps a by product of advertising destinations without investing in infrastructure. 

Post edited at 14:16
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In reply to rogerwebb:

> It would be less of an issue if everyone took their waste away.

Of course. That and the visual intrusion of campervans. Having said that, as things have got busier, I am becoming more self-conscious about roadside camping - I now really only ever put a tent up last thing at night and take it down first thing in the morning.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> Why are camper vans different from car camping?

Because you don't tend to put your tent on public land, it tends to go in someone's field?

TBH, though, I see wild camping as an activity in its own right - to be able to sleep somewhere truly wild and unpopulated on a "leave no trace" basis - not a way to "cheap out" on accommodation (which is why I believe in the idea of "if you can get caught you're doing it wrong").  If you're not engaging in that activity in its own right, I'd suggest it is probably more proper to use a campsite or other designated accommodation, such as some car parks specifically allow camper van overnighting (e.g. I think the big one in Betws y Coed).

Post edited at 14:30
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In reply to Neil Williams:

> Because you don't tend to put your tent on public land, it tends to go in someone's field?

No. Just on the grass by the road.

> ............it is probably more proper to use a campsite.

I very rarely use campsites for the simple reason (apart from them not being where I want to be) that I am then usually paying as much as £15 for facilities I don't need. I'd be happy to pay a few pounds to camp in a field with a tap and a toilet but, sadly, such places seem to be becoming harder to find. 

Post edited at 14:43
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 DancingOnRock 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Robert Durran:

I suspect you’d still have to pay £15. Local council regulations and demand determine that. Then campsites have realised that if you’re going to charge people, you have to keep the facilities in good condition. It’s a catch 22. 
 

https://www.pitchup.com/how-start-campsite-caravan-park/

For the vast majority of people £15 is really not a lot of money, especially if you’re a car owner. A tank of fuel costs £45-50!

Post edited at 14:49
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 ScraggyGoat 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

You may wish to note that this thread was specifically framed to only pertain to Scotland, where there is a legal right (subject to certain exclusions) to camp under the 2003 Land reform act, provided you do so responsibly (which is the bit some people struggle with, and hence the prediction of likely legislative change), and it applies irrespective of whom owns the land, and without the need for their permission.

There is currently no requirement to hide yourself away, or risk of 'getting caught', or requirement to have the landowners permission that occurs in England/Wales.

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 ScraggyGoat 26 Jun 2020
In reply to DancingOnRock:

It is a lot of money if a) you don't have any, or b) if you arrive late and leave early such that you don't avail yourself of the facilities, and c) is immaterial in winter when very few sites are actually open.  There is the further complication that in many campsites its now impossible to turn up adhoc, as sites can be full, in which case the price is irrelevant. Plus some sites office hours are incompatible with a hill day (if there is an honesty box I always use it).

Post edited at 14:59
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In reply to ScraggyGoat:

If you don't have any, how did you afford the fuel to drive there?

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In reply to DancingOnRock:

> I suspect you’d still have to pay £15. Local council regulations and demand determine that.

Two years ago the wonderful Fairhead campite was £2 (a small field with a tap and a portaloo). Traigh Uig on Lewis similar. Likewise Sheigra. Maybe laws are different in England.

> For the vast majority of people £15 is really not a lot of money, especially if you’re a car owner. A tank of fuel costs £45-50!

I could afford it, but if my weekend away uses a tank of fuel, I'd rather pay a total of £50 than £80. I could afford a pub meal too, but, again, why pay for that too when I'm just as happy cooking out of the back of my car? A campsite and a pub meal don't really add to my happiness -  there are other things I'd rather spend my money on!

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 ScraggyGoat 26 Jun 2020

I have in the past for mates whom were skint not charged them a petrol contribution, but wouldn't have subb'ed their site fees as well.

Generally in Summer if I can't get into the hills on a friday night, I'll use a campsite to support the local economy, as like Robert I'm aware of local animosity. If the legislative winds of change do blow, I very much aware of the the awkwardness to some trips, plus there will be 'mission creep' if its not appropriate to camp hear (insert place), land-owners will clamour 'why is this'...insert place further away from the road..permissible....'it has problems too' (quick Jeeves drop some rubbish and burn some fire rings and we can be rid of the plebs (though sadly Jeeves probably won't have to take the land-rover out of the estate compound to achieve it).

Post edited at 15:21
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In reply to Robert Durran:

Don't know about England (or indeed Scotland per the topic) but there are sites in North Wales (e.g. Gwern Gof Uchaf) that cost less than a day in a pay and display around those parts and basically are the "field with a bog and a tap" sort of place you describe.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> I could afford it, but if my weekend away uses a tank of fuel, I'd rather pay a total of £50 than £80. I could afford a pub meal too, but, again, why pay for that too when I'm just as happy cooking out of the back of my car? A campsite and a pub meal don't really add to my happiness -  there are other things I'd rather spend my money on!

To yours, perhaps not (and you can have a pub meal or not - indeed "not" being the only option at the moment :D) but the issue with people wild camping en masse near roads, legal or not, is that it can be quite antisocial, so perhaps if you can afford a campsite you should, simply out of respect to others.

I do think wild camping *as an experience in its own right* is great, and I'd like to see it legal in England and Wales too, but I'd more see the benefit of it in truly wild country with arrival on foot, I don't see an overall benefit to society of it being allowed to just park up on a verge and pitch your tent next to your car, nor is it right that people should get in the way of farmers doing their job by plonking the tent in the middle of the cow or sheep field you happen to feel like, or indeed in someone's back garden.  A minimum distance from a road (perhaps just a classified road, i.e. A or B road?) would provide that level of control, while avoiding laybys being full of cars, tents, p*ss and sh*t.

Can you imagine, for instance, what Stanage would be like if people could freely wild camp there?  I hate to think.  Just go down the road, cough up not very much and camp at North Lees.

Post edited at 15:22
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 ScraggyGoat 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

If you can move Stanage upto Scotland, then maybe we will start entertaining your currently geographically irrelevant comments!

and also I suggest you read through SOAC before you travel to Scotland, to appraise yourself of the exclusions, and your responsibilities as well as rights.

Post edited at 15:29
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In reply to Neil Williams:

> The issue with people wild camping en masse near roads, legal or not, is that it can be quite antisocial.

Yes, I agree. This is why I would avoid busy areas and, as I said, only put a tent up last thing at night and take it down first thing. I would quite happily see roadside camping clamped down on in the honeypot areas such as Glen Etive which get trashed (as is already the case further south).

> I do think wild camping *as an experience in its own right* is great, and I'd like to see it legal in England and Wales too, but I'd more see the benefit of it in truly wild country, I don't see an overall benefit to society of it being allowed to just park up on a verge and pitch your tent next to your car.

Why should it be a benefit to society?

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> Can you imagine, for instance, what Stanage would be like if people could freely wild camp there?  I hate to think.  Just go down the road, cough up not very much and camp at North Lees.

Yes, appalling. There are many reasons I would hate to live south of the border and why I increasingly rarely head south of it.

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 1932 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> I don't see an overall benefit to society of it being allowed to just park up on a verge and pitch your tent next to your car,

Fortunately though, or else climbing would not be a thing, we are allowed to do things which do not have any overall benefit to society. 

I don't think there is anything problematic about camping / parking by the road in Scotland. It's fairly essential if you are to do anything. People might do daft things when they are parked up, but people also do daft things in public parks I don't think there should be restrictions on people going there or fees to pay. There are rules against littering, parking dangerously, dogging etc. 

Post edited at 15:45
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In reply to Neil Williams:

> There are sites in North Wales (e.g. Gwern Gof Uchaf) that cost less than a day in a pay and display around those parts.

I don't find that reassuring. I'm not sure about N. Wales, but the last times I went to the Lakes, I spent a horrifying amount on parking (on top a daft amount to squeeze in to a busy campsite).

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In reply to ScraggyGoat:

> If you can move Stanage upto Scotland, then maybe we will start entertaining your currently geographically irrelevant comments!

They are relevant, because England and Scotland are similar countries, and experience in England will inform future policy in Scotland and vice versa.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

> Why should it be a benefit to society?

It shouldn't be negative to society, and rows of cars and tents with associated litter and excrement very much are.

I'm sure you wouldn't do that, but the law has to be set for the masses (see the issues by Loch Lomond that resulted in regulation around there).  The masses won't walk half way up a mountain to wild camp, so that keeps it under some semblance of control.

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> They are relevant, because England and Scotland are similar countries, and experience in England will inform future policy in Scotland and vice versa.

I agree. I'd guess that Scotland is a couple of decades or so behind England in how busy and how restrictive things accordingly are.

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In reply to Robert Durran:

I think it goes both ways - if proposing to legalise wild camping in England (something I'd like to see done, though of course it already is on Dartmoor) I'd like to see the downsides of it in Scotland (e.g. Loch Lomond) considered in deciding what to do, which probably in practice means that it would be allowed only on open fell and moor - basically the places where you'll get away with it if you "do it properly" now.

Post edited at 16:22
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In reply to Neil Williams:

> It shouldn't be negative to society, and rows of cars and tents with associated litter and excrement very much are.

Yes, which is why I said I support restrictions on roadside camping in problem areas. Twenty years ago I would have had no qualms about sticking a tent up in Glen Etive. Now I would not in summer. But I still would in plenty of places further north. I worry much less about dossing in the back of the car.

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> I think it goes both ways - if proposing to legalise wild camping in England (something I'd like to see done, though of course it already is on Dartmoor) I'd like to see the downsides of it in Scotland (e.g. Loch Lomond) considered in deciding what to do, which probably in practice means that it would be allowed only on open fell and moor - basically the places where you'll get away with it if you "do it properly" now.

I think that would be essential in England - there are just too many people.

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 Fat Bumbly2 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

Bad, bad news if a cycle tourist.  Mind we are good at stealthing - and I like touring in England, a mix of campsites and youcantseeme if the said campsite is not there.

However, estate roads offer a solution. The Lomond Trossachs situation has nuggered up some projects with the road tourer.

Today I had to put out someone's campfire from last night - it was burning the soil and creeping towards some whins. Hope I got it out - smoke stopped for an hour and then there was an almighty thunderstorm.  KrapKampers are a thing again.

Post edited at 19:23
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 Jmacquarrie 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

I love both those campsites at the foot of Tryfan - cheap as chips, actually hot showers, not the usual lukewarm rubbish you seem to get nowadays, and best of all you can access the Carneddau and the Glyders from the campsite.

There are sites like that in the lakes ,there's a couple near Seathwaite for example.

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 deepsoup 26 Jun 2020
In reply to Neil Williams:

> basically the places where you'll get away with it if you "do it properly" now.

If you "do it properly" you'll get away with it in many more places than just open fell and moor.  On a philosophical level I'd like it to be legalised, but from a purely pragmatic point of view I think I would prefer it if it stays as it is.  We just have way to many dickheads who would see it as a green light to set fire to bits of the countryside and leave shite everywhere, and while both those things would obviously remain illegal the chances of any effective enforcement would be zilch.

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In reply to Neil Williams:

> basically the places where you'll get away with it if you "do it properly" now.

It’s amazing where you can bivvy if you take a little bit of care.  As a student I had a bedroom in a heavily insulated loft conversion with a sun facing dormer window.  It was the hot box from hell and I couldn’t sleep after hot and sunny weather.  I used to bivvy in a couple of urban woods and an old ice house I found in an overgrown former garden.  Never had any bother.

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