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Scottish campsite launches petition to ban wild overnight parking

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.

Darren and Lynn Redfern, of Dornoch Caravan and Camping Site have lodged a petition with the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Times reports.

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.”

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12 comments

Paul August 13, 2023 at 1:50 pm

I stayed at Dornoch Caravan and Camping Site as part of my NC500 trip this year. Like all of the sites I stayed at in Scotland, the facilities were superb and excellent value. I like to use camping sites for security as much as the showers and loos. Having said that, I would be happy to pay for an Aire from time to time if it had loos, showers and organised waste disposal.

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Mark August 18, 2023 at 5:21 pm

An Aire generally will have waste facilities and even ehu sometimes, but not showers or loos. An aire is just a stopover not a small campsite.

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Jack August 14, 2023 at 10:48 am

If they don’t like it close their business. probably overcharge anyway.

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Eddie Edwards August 18, 2023 at 8:43 am

Definitely with you over this, especially when the prices are a wet finger in the air. Watch how the prices increase if they were to win their petty petition.

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ken August 15, 2023 at 3:22 pm

i love doing both my first choice is campsite ,but i dont mind places thay i can park and it has access to toilets

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Joan Cornwall August 18, 2023 at 7:50 am

Such a negative viewpoint from Dornoch caravan site. Maybe take a look at the continent where Aires are commonplace. Motorhomers are mostly responsible and do not leave mess, as stated. There’s always one or two but def NOT the majority. Get in touch with CAMPRA (campaign for real aires) for a more balanced view and understanding of the needs of us motorhome owners. Thankfully Highland council snd many areas throughout Scotland are offering more parking for MH

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Eddie Edwards August 18, 2023 at 8:41 am

Just more people jumping on the bandwagon of hating motorhomes and wanting to boost their business. I hope all campers take their trade overseas and let’s boycott Scotland all together, I’ve never been to a more unwelcoming place in my motorhome. If you turned up in a car, they rub their hands together with glee at the tourist income, but then ostracise touring.

Can’t make it up and I bet if all motorhomes are band from free camping, their prices would go through the roof. Miserable sods.

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Bob August 18, 2023 at 4:15 pm

All organise a day to turn up and queue at their gate.
When you can’t get in just switch off and take up residence.

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Deb Dunning August 18, 2023 at 4:52 pm

We have been campervaning for four years now and have never once emptied our toilet in an irresponsible way. Always at campsites either when we are staying at one or just pay to empty it. We pick up litter everywhere we go. We are mindful of where we park and how we behave when we are not at a camp site. I can imagine how frustrating it is for people to have to deal with selfish camper van owners and their selfish actions make us feel more unwelcome at places. On our last visit to Scotland we were picking up dirty nappies and food cartons and cups. These were from left from families visiting in cars. Just be respectful and responsible so everyone can enjoy places

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Mark August 18, 2023 at 5:17 pm

Are they going to open their campsite during the winter months or are we not allowed to travel from October to March?😂
What a pair!!

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Charles Shelbourne August 18, 2023 at 8:49 pm

Camping sites and caravan sites are all that tent campers and caravanners need, in remote places so they can motor off in their cars to explore, summertime only. We motorhomers have different needs, as we tour all year round, tasting the local cuisine and culture as we go. Often one night in one place is enough, especially on the way to a far off destination. Many campsites restrict stays to 2-3 nights minimum, demand advance booking, and check-ins during office hours – all of which goes against the nomadic behaviour we enjoy and use the CV/MH for. And they’re closed in Scotland from October to Easter, at least they were in March 2018 for my last visit. Luckily we were self sufficient and didn’t need their loos, just their waste and fresh water facilities which we were unable to use. We need Motorhome Aires, we’re different to what they specialise in.

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katey jane andrews August 22, 2023 at 6:35 pm

I live full time in my motorhome, have no fixed abode, so i,m not on holiday so would never use a campsite or aires, i believe in off grid living in a self contained van that needs no power or water hookups.

Had this discussion many times, with the police, councils and people I meet and it comes down to one thing, common sense. I park in no popular places and get to know locals and i get along with all i meet, but i respect the countryside and don’t just stay in my van. i spend hours hiking.

This country has real issues, greed and stupidity. I’ve seen both car and van owners who have no idea how to park but no one moans at hundreds of cars parked up yet will moan over a few vans.

Our lives are so controlled it starts at school where the cloning process begins and anyone breaking that doesn’t fit in the system like me.

I can’t stand the way people tar everyone to the same brush. what on earth happened to being individual? What shocks me is when you get to know people they like to meet up again and again, i keep in touch with people all over Golloway hills. when people know what you are about its cool. I park for up to a week in one spot to save fuel and head out hiking.

I don’t park near other van owners so keep well out of the way of the trouble.

A country where you are not allowed to be free so the system can monitor you!

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