Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park is marking National Parks Week, which kicks off on Monday (July 25), by urging visitors to be considerate and responsible.
‘Respect Your Park’ is a joint initiative from the park authority, Forest Enterprise Scotland and Police Scotland to help people understand how to show respect the environment so that everyone who comes to the National Park can make the most of the outdoors.
The campaign focuses on litter and responsible camping, and also includes messages about noise, safe fires, going to the toilet in the wild, fishing, and safe driving on the often busy roads around the park.
Bag it, bin it or take it home is the message they want to get across. Sadly litter is still an issue in Scotland’s first National Park. The ‘Respect Your Park’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the impact of littering and offers straightforward advice about how everyone can do their bit to respect this stunning area.
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 1 in 5 adults in Scotland admits to having littered in the last year. Yet, the vast majority of Scots (96%) 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.
Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park 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 wonderful that 50% of Scotland’s population is just an hour’s drive from Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park. With such easy access for so many people, 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, added: “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 world-wide 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.”
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 antisocial 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 and 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.”
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 top 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.