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Action on wild camping

Visitors to Perth and Kinross are being reminded to 'leave it as you found it' when camping in the area's beauty spots.

Perth and Kinross boasts some of Scotland's most jaw-dropping scenery which regularly attracts visitors, including wild campers and campervans.  As lockdown eases, more people are coming to the area.

While most visitors are respectful of the area, and surrounding communities, local residents as well as police, fire and council services  are asking visitors to behave responsibly and ensure they leave these locations in the same condition as when they arrived.

Additionally, drivers are being reminded to park their vehicles responsibly and avoid causing an obstruction of the roadway, and passing places, and to obey all road signs, such as clearway signs, that prohibit parking or even stopping in areas marked as clearways.  Parking inconsiderately can prevent access by essential emergency services, and also obstruct farm vehicles.

Motorists who refuse to comply with these restrictions could be fined,  or risk having their vehicles removed if they are causing a dangerous obstruction.  

Police and parking attendants will also carry out additional patrols in areas where there have been significant numbers of 'wild campers', such as Loch Earn and Loch Tummel, to remind visitors of their responsibilities to the environment and local communities.

These include taking all rubbish home or, where that isn't possible, bagging it and disposing of it in a responsible manner. Human waste is offensive, and attract pests, so please dispose of it considerately.  The best advice is available from Mountaineering Scotland, but as an absolute minimum, please dig a hole and bury it.

Official campsites will begin opening from Friday 17 July and people who want to camp outside should book pitches.

Barbara Renton, Executive Director Housing and Environment at Perth & Kinross Council, said: "We are fortunate to live in an area of great natural beauty, and we work hard to maintain it.

"People who behave irresponsibly can spoil it for others and their actions can damage the environment, cost public money, and put themselves and others in danger.

"We've set up a multi-agency group with Police Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue and want to extend that to communities, and local partners, to manage the situation and take action where necessary, including a communications campaign to promote good behaviour, and also take  enforcement action if necessary

"We are asking people to enjoy the great outdoors responsibly, and not spoil it for others."

Anyone concerned about large crowds of people gathering in beauty spots should contact Police Scotland on 101 in the first instance or dial 999 in an emergency.

Police Scotland Inspector Craig Stephen said: "The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.

"Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance. We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation.

"We recognise that people have made significant sacrifices but we would ask people to use their judgement and avoid places which are busy to stop our beauty spots from becoming over-crowded."

Billy McLintock, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander for Service Delivery in Perthshire and Kinross said: "During July we have been working with our partners to help keep areas of natural beauty around Perth and Kinross both clean and safe.

"We're aware that with the good weather and loosening of lock-down restrictions that people will be keen to explore Scotland - and we absolutely welcome people to this region.

"But we're also keen to ensure everyone has a safe summer and will engage with those who visit sites like Loch Tummel to ensure they are aware of the dangers presented by open water and lighting fires in the open.

"This time of year typically sees an enhanced risk of wildfire, so we would urge those visiting the region to follow safety advice and avoid lighting fires.

"The risk presented by open water is also something to always bear in mind. Water may seem inviting, but conditions like cold water shock can lead to devastating results.

"We hope everyone has a happy and safe summer and helps to look after our beautiful country."