Litter on the shore of Loch Lomond. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Litter on the shore of Loch Lomond. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Scotland’s first national park has launched a campaign to clamp down on littering and to educate visitors to care for the area.

Loch Lomond & the Trossachs’ Respect Your Park project was unveiled on Monday, the start of national parks week.

The park authority, which has introduced controversial camping bans alongside many of its popular lochs, said the new campaign is designed to encourage responsible use of the area.

Police Scotland and Forest Enterprise Scotland are also partners in Respect Your Park which, as well as tackling litter, includes messages about noise, safe fires, going to the toilet in the wild, fishing, and safe driving on the often busy roads of the national park.

An authority spokesperson said: “The challenges on littering in the national park are echoed across Scotland.

“Findings published by Zero Waste Scotland show that over 250 million pieces of litter are cleared up each year and that one in five adults in Scotland admits to having littered in the last year. Yet the vast majority of Scots – 96 per cent – agree that littering is not acceptable.

“National park rangers can now give out fixed penalty notices of £80 for littering and £200 for fly-tipping, but these powers will only be used as a measure of last resort. The initiative’s aim is to educate the public and encourage them to enjoy and look after the park.”

National park authority chief executive Gordon Watson said: “National parks week is a perfect opportunity to encourage people to come and enjoy themselves and to ask for their help to keep this park special.

“It is important that everyone who comes here to knows how to do the right thing to help us take care of this special place.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Loch Lomond and the Trossachs national park is one of natural Scotland’s greatest assets and we must do everything we can to keep it clean and litter-free.

“We all benefit from visiting beautiful places, such as our national parks, and from the economic boost of their worldwide appeal to tourists.

“Dropping litter blights our communities and coastlines, tarnishes our beautiful landscapes and harms our wildlife and natural assets. Littering is simply unacceptable and that is why our action to tackle it includes powers for the national park authority to issue £80 penalties to those who flout the law.

“It is easy to do the right thing and either put your litter in the bin or take it home with you if you are out and about enjoying the national park. There really is no excuse for littering.”

Campaigns are nothing new: this decades-old sign was erected at Rowardennan on the east shore of Loch Lomond by The Holiday Fellowship pleading with walkers not to litter. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Campaigns are nothing new: this decades-old sign was erected at Rowardennan on the east shore of Loch Lomond by The Holiday Fellowship pleading with walkers not to litter. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Park Rangers will also be meeting members of the public during national parks week both throughout the park and in the GO Outdoors Clydebank store to share tips and advice about how best to make the most of the national park responsibly.

In an effort to reduce the amount of litter left in the park and encourage greater responsibility amongst by users, national park rangers will be distributing the new Respect Your Park leaflets and bio-degradable litter bags to members of the public and asking them to take their litter home.

The Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority faced determined opposition from outdoors organisations such as Ramblers Scotland and the Mountaineering Council of Scotland to its bans on wild camping in large stretches of shoreline, including east Loch Lomond along the route of Scotland’s most popular long-distance trail, the West Highland Way.

Walkers and other outdoor enthusiasts must pay to use approved camping areas in the park during summer months. Opponents said the bylaws introduced by the authority went against the spirit of the country’s right to roam legislation the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, which gives the legal right to responsible camping throughout the countryside north of the border.

Chief Superintendent Stevie McAllister, divisional commander for Forth Valley and Police Scotland lead for the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs national park said: “For the best part of a decade, officers based within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area have worked closely with the national park to deter offences such as anti-social behaviour and identify those responsible.

“This has already proven extremely successful with crimes of this nature now significantly reduced, particularly within the east Loch Lomond and other lochshore areas and the vast majority of visitors behaving responsibly during their stay.

“However, we cannot become complacent and this launch of the Respect Your Park allows us to build on the foundations of previous partnership operations within the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park.”

Gordon Donaldson, manager of Forest Enterprise Scotland’s Cowal & Trossachs forest district said: “Environmental protection is one of our biggest priorities. A good proportion of environmental damage is caused through a lack of awareness, for example, the harm caused to flora and fauna by unsafe campfires.

“The more that we, and other organisations, can do to help promote messaging that encourages respectful, safe, sensible behaviour the better.”

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