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Voluntary £40 campervan and motorhome pass for Highland visitors sparks heated reaction

By Philip Murray

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A campervan in Wester Ross. Stock photo.
A campervan in Wester Ross. Stock photo.

A new voluntary £40 pass for campervanners and motorhome owners visiting the Highlands has sparked heated reaction from residents and travellers alike.

Highland Council launched the new £40 passes this week in response to concerns over the impact of growing tourism pressure on the region’s infrastructure - especially roads, littering, and toileting facilities.

The passes, which last for seven days, are entirely voluntary and aimed at “socially conscious” tourists who are aware of the impact that tourism can have on a region’s infrastructure, and wish to help contribute towards its upkeep.

The council hopes to use monies raised to improve infrastructure, toilets, wastewater disposal points and the like.

READ MORE: New £40 voluntary campervan pass launched in the Highlands in a bid to boost infrastructure

But the pass, and the decision to make it voluntary, has sparked a strong response online - with all manner of reactions being voiced by visitor and tourist alike.

Commenting on Facebook in response to our story, Syrena Hall questioned whether it will go far enough in tackling known issues.

“Does anyone think that this will seriously reduce the amount of waste being left in car parks, lay-bys etc by those refusing to use campsites,” she asked. ”For those who insist they’re not paying the high cost of using a site are very unlikely to pay anything that’s only voluntary The same ones who quite openly post articles about free parking spots , stating that there’s a voluntary charge but you don’t have to pay it , so it’s free.”

Alec Kidd agreed, saying: “£40 won't clear up the poop from the lay-by's, bit of a joke.”

Others questioned why the pass was not mandatory for those motorhomes not planning on staying at campsites.

Minna Wakefield Harrker said: “Why on earth have they made it voluntary? If the whole point is to try to improve infrastructure, why isn't this compulsory?

“They won’t pay for a night's stay in a proper campsite, what makes them think that people will voluntarily hand over £40? I'm not classing all motorhome owners the same, some will pay, but sadly this is not going to work but I desperately hope I'm proved wrong.”

And Anne Sinnott voiced similar concerns: “Why voluntary? The people this is aimed at are the ones who don’t want to pay - for anything, if they can get away with it. There shouldn’t be anything ‘voluntary’, just legislation which is actively enforced.”

Kathryn Dunnett added: “It shouldn't get voluntary if they're using the NC500 as it's not voluntary if WE stayed anywhere in Scotland.”

But some of the responses suggest that there will be take-up of the pass among some visitors after some said they were more than happy to pay - with several socially conscious motorhome owners planning to pay for such a pass when they visit this summer.

Tony Iceton was one such figure. He said: “I’m coming up in two weeks and will gladly pay this, how do I pay?”

And Mandy Hicks agreed: “We will gladly pay it too if we visit. Shame it's not a compulsory night charge on park ups. Some will be visiting longer than seven days.”

Catherine Sutherland noted that the uptake of passes will be one to watch, saying: “It will be interesting to see the take up numbers for this voluntary scheme.”

- What do you think? Email newsdesk@hnemdia.co.uk

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