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Inverness councillor Ron MacWilliam calls for tough new ‘dirty tourism’ byelaws for the Highlands


By Gregor White

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Overflowing bins are the least of the problems being caused by a flood of holidaymakers to the Highlands according to reports.
Overflowing bins are the least of the problems being caused by a flood of holidaymakers to the Highlands according to reports.

Ness-side councillor Ron MacWilliam has called for tough new local byelaws to deal with a recent surge in excessive littering by holidaymakers across the Highlands.

Reports of inconsiderate waste disposal have flooded in from every corner of the Highlands in recent days and Cllr MacWilliam says the council needs to take a firm stance.

"The council already has powers to deal with fly-tipping and the police have various powers including under section 47 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982 in respect of outdoor toiletting," he said.

"What they both lack is the resource to enforce these powers and I am grateful to council officers currently investigating the solutions available.

"Byelaws could form part of the answer as enforcement of a camping ban in certain areas would be easier to enforce than trying to identify detailed bad behaviour.

"This form of tourist is really not welcome in Inverness.

"They’re destroying amenity areas with their selfish and inexplicable behaviour.

"Many of these areas are where families go to walk and children go to play.

"It is utterly disgusting and if we don’t deal with the issue immediately these ‘tourists’ will ironically destroy our tourism industry as the world-renowned Highland brand becomes associated with rogue visitors.

"We are also still in the grips of a pandemic and public hygiene is more important now than it has been at any other point in any of our lives.

"I have always supported the ‘right to roam’ and I know that the overwhelming majority of campers are responsible.

"We look forward to welcoming them all back for many years to come.

"What we are dealing with is a ‘dirty tourist’ phenomenon that has been known about for a few years but has become an unwelcome craze since the end of the pandemic lockdown."

He added: "There isn’t the infrastructure here to support this unsustainable form of tourism and it has been reckless of those who have promoted motorhoming and camping in the Highlands on this scale without a plan for delivering the necessary infrastructure."

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