A couple who run a caravan and camping site are calling on the Scottish Government to ban motorhomes and campervans from parking overnight outside formal sites.
The Redferns’ petition calls on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to improve licensing enforcement on motorhomes and campervans, ensuring they are only parking in designated and regulated locations.
The couple said: “We believe that motorhome users who choose not to use campsites, caravan parks or aires place an unnecessary burden on local communities by parking inappropriately, disposing of their rubbish, chemical toilet and dirty water as well as defecating, at the side of the road.
“Regulated parks offer all these facilities in one safe location.
“The Scottish Outdoor Access Code does not apply to motorised vehicles and motorhome users must have the permission of the landowner before parking overnight.
“This almost never happens.
“Although there is much documented evidence of motorhomes parking in adverse spots across Scotland, enforcement is not being implemented to stop this happening.”
Committee convener Jackson Carlaw, MSP for Eastwood, said the Scottish Government had set up a campervan and motorhome working group to look at the challenges created by motorhome and campervan users in Scotland.
The group, which is due to report its recommendations later this year, is exploring the provision of aires – free or low cost motorhome camping areas.
Mr Carlaw added: “The petitioners’ recent submission states that new facilities will not be effective in addressing issues raised in the petition and that strict restrictions must be enforced against unregulated campervan parking, wherever that might take place.
“Financial challenges are also highlighted by the petitioner in that they are ineligible for the support that not-for-profit establishments might get.”
Committee deputy convener David Torrance, MSP for Kirkcaldy, proposed the Redferns’ petition be closed, saying: “If someone has road tax for their vehicle, whether it is a campervan or not, you are allowed to park it anywhere, as long as it is not causing an obstruction to a road or way or a driveway.”
However the committee agreed to keep the petition open following an intervention by committee member Fergus Ewing, MSP for Inverness and Nairn.
He said: “I wonder whether we have done justice to the petitioners who have said that they want specific restrictions on overnight parking.
“There is no doubt that it is a nuisance in the Highlands and also elsewhere.
“Campervans are huge vehicles, so parking can cause some nuisance issues.
“So in order to ascertain whether the working group will consider any specific recommendations, maybe we could write to the government to ask whether the working group has looked at this issue and what its recommendations are.
“Are there any measures that could be taken?
“For example, local byelaw provisions might enable Highland Council to tackle such things.
“To be fair, the petitioners’ business is one of many that operates a caravan park, and it is a particular issue of nuisance for many residents along the North Coast 500 and perhaps in many other places, too.
“If you have a bloody great camper van parked somewhere that you need to go or that needs to be made available for safety vehicles, particularly on restricted narrow and single-track roads in places such as Skye, it is a serious issue.”