Perth and Kinross Council has said it will not consider progressing a local MSP’s push for a by-law to curtail rogue wild campers in Highland Perthshire until the pandemic has been dealt with.
Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser has asked for measures to restrict informal camping across the region, as the list of anti-social behaviour complaints and piles of rubbish left at beauty spots continues to grow.
The issue has infuriated local residents and countryside rangers who have been left to clean up the mess, leading to landowners installing fences and gates to block vehicles.
Mr Fraser said: “We have seen an increase in the number of informal camping incidents in Highland Perthshire with examples at Lochs Tay, Tummel and Rannoch. The good weather has attracted people to these areas and informal camping will no doubt continue as we go through the summer months.
“The time has come when we have to say enough is enough and introduce a by-law to restrict irresponsible activities.”
He said he warned there would be an impact on Perthshire when wild camping was banned at Loch Lomond a few years ago.
Fellow Conservative and Highland Perthshire councillor John Duff said irresponsible behaviour at informal camp sites had become a “dreadful scourge” on rural areas.
“The council and landowners are being left to literally pick up the pieces and visitors to the area are shocked by their selfish attitudes,” he said.
Perth and Kinross Council said it would not consider starting the Scottish Government-approved procedure for introducing by-laws until the pandemic has been dealt with.
A spokesperson said: “We are aware of the issues in Highland Perthshire, and other areas around inappropriate behaviour in the countryside by irresponsible campers and would urge all visitors to act responsibly and not affect the environment for others.
“The introduction of camping by-laws is not currently under consideration at this time.
“The process is lengthy, requiring extensive consultation as well as Scottish Government approval.
“This would take substantial officer resources at a time when our priority is providing essential services to respond to the Covid 19 emergency.
“We are working with partners and communities to promote responsible camping and take other proactive measures to minimise the impacts of irresponsible behaviour.”