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Issues around 'dirty camping' and Highland tourism are to be discussed on BBC news programme

By Louise Glen

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Europa will explore the experience of dirty camping in the Highlands.
Europa will explore the experience of dirty camping in the Highlands.

A BBC Alba current affairs programme is going to be investigating the facilities available to visitors in the Highlands after concerns were raised last summer over 'dirty camping'.

Eòrpa, the Gaelic channel's European news programme visits Inverness and Skye to discusses a lack of facilities for campers.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "Presenter Alasdair Maclennan reports on the facilities available to campers, caravans and motorhomes in the Highlands after concerns last summer that a lack of sites with suitable facilities was resulting in dirty camping and inappropriate parking.

"He is also in conversation with Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation about the issues facing policing today."
She continued: "After 2020’s first lockdown the summer tourist season was busier than ever, with many people desperate to escape to the Highlands and islands of Scotland, especially given foreign travel was still not advised.

"However, lack of open facilities for campers, as well as people in caravans and motorhomes, was criticised, and problems with motorhomes/caravans parking in less than ideal spots such as passing places, as well as issues with ‘dirty camping’ – where waste and rubbish are left behind – were rife."

Eòrpa looks at what infrastructure has been put in place by Highland Council since last year to better deal with another potentially very busy tourist season in the Highlands, including the start of what one councillor hopes will be a whole Aires-style network of sites across the region to accommodate the ever-growing number of campervans and motorhomes.

The spokeswoman continued: "Not everyone is convinced however, including campsite-owners who fear they could lose business if these type of sites start to take off.

"Others argue that the Aires-style sites would cater to a different market and would be a big help to encourage more sustainable tourism, giving people the freedom and flexibility they’d like while still offering value for money.

"We look at an Aires site in France, where these types of motorhome facilities have been well-established for years, hearing from someone who regularly uses these motorhome sites, as well as a the president and co-founder of an Aires maintenance company, and discuss whether a scheme that has been so successful in France could be replicated here as one of the solutions to problems associated with over-tourism and lack of adequate infrastructure."

The show will air on BBC Alba on Thursday April 1 at 8.30pm.

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