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MP calls for levy on motor home users visiting north

By Staff Reporter

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Jamie Stone: Toll scheme for large vehicles.
Jamie Stone: Toll scheme for large vehicles.

Sutherland MP Jamie Stone has taken action following mounting complaints about the rising number of motor home and camper van users on the north’s crumbling roads

Mr Stone, who represents the Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross constituency, is calling for motor home users to be charged a toll to visit the north Highlands.

Meanwhile a Sutherland community council is proposing to install a line of barriers in the hope of preventing cheapskate motor home users from wild parking in a beauty spot within yards of a caravan and camp site.

Mr Stone, who has previously asked the Scottish Government to increase investment in NC500, was prompted to act after holding clinics last week in north and west Sutherland.

Local residents have previously complained not just about the sheer number of large vehicles on single-track routes but also the behaviour of their occupants.

Motor home users have been criticised for wild camping on verges, passing places and car parks and also for discharging waste into the environment.

Mr Stone said: “At every single clinic, the refrain is the same. Tourism is good for the local economy, NC500 is a success, but the sheer weight of traffic is a real problem.

“It is a problem not only in terms of slowing local traffic up, but also in terms of the maintenance of roads and lay-bys and visiting road users disposing of waste.”

He has now written to Transport Minister Michael Matheson asking him to consider a tolling scheme for non-local large vehicles like motor homes and camper vans. A copy of the letter has been sent to Westminster Transport Secretary Grant Shapps..

“This would entail the payment of a set charge to travel on a certain defined route – or indeed all routes – north and west of, say, Inverness,” stated Mr Stone in the letter. “The same could apply to all non-local minibuses and buses.

“Such a scheme could bring in significant monies that would then be earmarked for the maintenance of local roads, lay-bys, signage, and even toilets.”

He added: “I appreciate that this suggestion is fairly radical – and also that care and time would have to be taken to ensure that it is workable.”

Meanwhile Dornoch Community Council has launched a consultation exercise over a plan to control “excessive and extended parking” on Common Good land next to the beach play park.

The area, is sited close Dornoch Caravan Park where facilities are available for motor home users..

A community council spokeswoman said: “The proposal is that a line of stobs be placed strategically on both sides of the Low Road, leading from the northern limit of the caravan site, to the junction of the High Road running from Royal Dornoch Golf Club to the beach car park.

“The aim would be to still permit significant car parking, but discourage extended stays by larger vehicles.”

If approved, the cost of the exercise would be met by Dornoch Common Good Fund.

The consultation exercise ends on September 7 and Dornoch residents can make their views known through Facebook, by letter handed in to Dornoch Service Point or by email to: dornochareacommunitycouncil@hotmail.co.uk

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