In a concerted move to tackle Loch Lomond’s litter shame, the Friends of Loch Lomond and the Trossachs have successfully introduced a pilot litter bin scheme in twenty laybys beside the A82 on Loch Lomondside over the summer months.
The installation and regular emptying of the bins is making a big improvement along what was, until recently, regularly a litter-strewn corridor in one of the world’s great beauty spots.
Littering and outdoor toileting issues have become much worse in the area following the easing of Covid 19 travel restrictions with increased visitor numbers in an already heavily visited tourist destination.
John Urquhart, Vice Chair of the Friends said, ’’For many years now we have asked public agencies for litter bins to be installed in laybys alongside the busy Loch Lomond stretch of the A82 as part of a wider litter action plan but sadly this never happened other than beside the very short southern length covered by West Dunbartonshire Council.
‘’We therefore decided to take direct action ourselves and raised sufficient funds to run with this seasonal pilot scheme which is working well and making a real difference on the ground backed up with regular emptying and impact monitoring.
‘’We are pleased our actions are being complemented by others with the recent involvement of the Community Service team operating out of Helensburgh who are undertaking regular litter picks. The National Park Authority have also undertaken litter clearing work in laybys near camping permit zones beside the loch which are being intensively used over the busy summer months.’’
Jackie Baillie MSP has praised the Friends for stepping in and providing much-needed bins.
‘’This is a welcome and very practical pilot project and I am delighted to support the Friends impressive efforts to tackle what has been a long-running problem which deserves to be resourced better and become part of the mainstream services provided by local public agencies,’’ she said. ‘’It should not be left to a local charity to provide bins in laybys along the busy A82 on Loch Lomondside and I plan to make it a priority to get a longer-term solution in place involving public agencies as it would be a retrograde step to remove the bins after the pilot period comes to an end in October.’’
Action Plan Call
Building on the success of the pilot layby litter bin project the Friends have called for a five-point inter-agency action plan to be taken forward to urgently address the serious littering and outdoor toileting problems along the A82 corridor on Loch Lomondside which they consider should include:
· financial support for the continuation of an expanded version of the current pilot litter bin scheme
· erecting appropriate fencing close to northbound laybys to reduce the incidence of fly tipping and outdoor toileting over wide areas
· removal of scrub vegetation in the vicinity of southbound laybys and viewpoints to make it easier for litter picking and to reduce outdoor toileting
· introducing advance services signing along the A82 at regular intervals to highlight where public toilets are, along with an indication if they are open 24 hrs, and
· improving the overall quality of laybys with better levels of verge maintenance and design upgrades where necessary.