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MSP Gail Ross and MP Jamie Stone cross political divide to make joint call to visitors to stay away from Ross-shire and the wider Highlands during coronavirus pandemic


By Philip Murray


There are continued worries that campervanners will travel to the Highlands during the coronavirus outbreak.
There are continued worries that campervanners will travel to the Highlands during the coronavirus outbreak.

A UNITED front has been put forward by politicians across the political divide after they put out a joint warning to visitors to 'please stay home' during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Far North MSP Gail Ross, and Ross MP Jamie stone have appealed to all caravan and campervan owners planning on visiting the Highlands to stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak.

They have written to the First Minister and Prime Minister to ask for a joined-up strategy to stop irresponsible tourism.

One issue of particular concern is that the Right to Roam legislation in Scotland could encourage irresponsible visitors to "free-park" their mobile homes in the Highlands and spread coronavirus to the far north.

Gail Ross said: "In normal circumstances, we would give visitors to the Highlands a warm welcome, but now that we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, things have changed completely.

"Our constituents are appalled by the prospect of visitors unwittingly bringing coronavirus to the Far North. The best way to beat the pandemic is to stop the spread of the virus - and for this reason, it is essential potential visitors keep to their homes in the south, thereby minimising the risks to our constituents."

Commenting on what can be done to prevent what he terms as "irresponsible and selfish tourism", Mr Stone added: "Both the Scottish and UK governments are going to have to take firm action on selfish tourism that is so worrying local people, many of whom are elderly and on a potential coronavirus danger list."

"At present Scotland has a very open policy to visitors, which is enshrined in Right To Roam legislation. Today Gail and I have written to both governments to put in place a temporary repeal of this legislation thus ensuring that opportunities for irresponsible visitors to park their mobile homes wherever they please are denied."

Concluding, Gail Ross MSP said: "Jamie and I both feel that in this time of national emergency our political differences are of no consequence. For this reason we should be working together closely to do all we can for our constituents, their livelihoods and lives."

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