Permits and charges could be introduced to control “freedom camping” which is blighting Fife beauty spots amid fears it could result in a serious accident.
Car parks at Elie’s Ruby Bay and Kingsbarns Beach are among the overnight hotspots for campervans and motorhomes.
The problem, also known as wild camping, is said to pose a fire and collision risk and workers have had to clean up waste left behind, including human faeces.
Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, which wants to regulate the practice without losing its economic benefits, believes a Fife-wide annual permit scheme may be the best long-term option.
In time for this tourist season, it wants to designate five overnight motorhome parking spaces at Ruby Bay with charges of £10 a night, and limit Kingsbarns to eight motorhomes a night.
Signs would be erected at Kingsbarns and Craigmead car park, in the Lomond Hills near Falkland, requesting donations from overnight visitors.
If approved, the measures would be implemented in April and reviewed before a permit scheme for a list of designated sites, which would take more time and resources to implement, is considered.
East Neuk and Landward Liberal Democrat councillor Bill Porteous, who previously called for charges for wild camping, said the proposals would address safety concerns.
“I believe these are good proposals which will benefit freedom campers by ensuring a higher investment in services provided and benefit local communities with this sensible managed solution.”
The area’s Conversative councillor Linda Holt said: “Ever more campervans pitching up overnight in beauty spots isn’t just a problem in the East Neuk, but across Scotland.
“It is hugely to the FCCT’s credit that it has responded to community concerns – ahead of Fife Council and the Scottish Government – to come up with practical solutions.”
In 2017 Kingsbarns car park alone saw 271 overnight vehicle stops by campers using it for free rather than paying for a camp site.
The trust said Ruby Bay car park was effectively a seasonal campsite, often with more than 15 motorhomes a night during the summer, creating fire hazards and blind spots.
It said freedom camping, banned at St Andrews’ West Sands in 2017, had become unsustainable in some places and immediate action was needed to mitigate the risks, while promoting sustainable tourism and boosting the local economy.
Robbie Blyth, the trust’s head of operations, said: “In response to pressing concerns expressed by community groups in Fife and in consultation with Fife Council, Fife Coast and Countryside Trust has compiled an options paper to consider pressures arising from the increase of motorhome users across Fife.
“The draft paper highlights challenges, opportunities and risks, with potential options for the future, and FCCT would be delighted to gauge the views from the public on any of its contents by January 31.”
The document can be viewed in the corporate information section of the trust’s website or requested by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.