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New ‘visitor tax’ planned for motorhomes and campervans visiting Western Isles

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Campervans and motorhomes could soon be taxed in Scotland following a massive spike in leisure vehicle staycations across the UK.

A council spokesperson for the Outer Hebrides, or Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said the move would see visitors making a “small contribution” towards the upkeep of services they use.

Local participants are invited to participate in the consultations.

The potential tax comes amid concerns about campervans and motorhomes taking up ferry car deck space and not contributing significantly to the Outer Hebrides economy.

CalMac, a major operator of ferries in Scotland, has already banned caravans from their standby queues.

Convener Norman Macdonald told the BBC discussions with the local tourism industry would take place first as he said the isles had experienced “significant” numbers of campervans over the summer tourist season.

Mr Macdonald said: “We are not talking about huge sums of money.

“We just want a contribution towards the infrastructure we, as a council, are required to put in place.”

Transient visitor levy

The Scottish government is putting new legislation in place on a short-term visitor tax named “a transient visitor levy”.

The new levy will give local authorities the ability to tax tourists, contributing towards local infrastructure and services.

It could generate between £5 million and £10million each year, depending on how a scheme was designed, The Scotsman reports.

In a statement on the issue last year, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said communities had seen an increase in problems with roadside littering and other waste.

A Comhairle spokesperson said: “While the Comhairle’s message to campervan and motorhome visitors has, from the outset, been not to visit the Western Isles unless they have a booking at an official camp site, given that facilities and services at camp sites are not open, it is apparent that this is being largely ignored with resultant adverse impacts on the local environment.”

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