Outdoors groups demand urgent rethink over kneejerk Perthshire parking bans

The view over Bridge of Balgie, in Glen Lyon

Walkers and mountaineers are calling for Perth & Kinross Council to urgently reconsider its “disproportionate” decision to ban parking on nine of its rural roads.

The local authority introduced sweeping new parking restrictions across about 60 miles of roads on 22 August, without prior consultation with the outdoor community.

Ramblers Scotland and Mountaineering Scotland have united to condemn the move, which makes it much harder to visit several of the area’s best-known beauty spots, including Glen Lyon, Loch Tay, Loch Tummel and the iconic Munro, Schiehallion. 

As well as affecting walkers and climbers, the restrictions will stop families, dog-walkers, picnickers, paddlers and anglers from parking responsibly near the roadside when the limited car parks are full.

Brendan Paddy, Ramblers Scotland director, said: “We completely condemn the irresponsible parking in rural Perthshire in recent months, but these kneejerk parking bans will prevent many considerate, law-abiding residents and tourists from enjoying the area’s wonderful countryside. 

“We’re shocked by the lack of advance consultation with partners. We could have worked with Perth & Kinross Council to identify more sensible solutions to the challenge of helping people enjoy active and healthy days outdoors – such as enforcing existing parking laws and creating new parking and transport options.”

The organisations highlighted the lack of alternative parking or public transport options for people wishing to access the outdoors, and highlighted the risk of visitors being displaced to other nearby roads or areas.

Mountaineering Scotland CEO Stuart Younie said: “We realise that unprecedented numbers of people wishing to enjoy the Scottish hills pose challenges with respect to traffic movement and parking, and we have been consistent in our advice as we have exited lockdown, encouraging everyone who wants to go walking or climbing to be considerate and park their cars so that they don’t obstruct roads or gateways.

“This blunt prohibition on parking for visitors is in our opinion a failure to anticipate increased demand for access to the scenic hills and glens of Perthshire, and to effectively manage it. The use of traffic regulations to indirectly restrict countryside access sets a dangerous precedent we do not want to see repeated elsewhere, and we urge the council to rethink its approach.”

New council signs – which will stay in place for up to 18 months – threaten enforcement action against anyone who parks on the roads, verges or pavements on the:

  • C450 Kinloch Rannoch to Tomphubil 
  • A827 Aberfeldy Road, Kenmore
  • C451 from the junction with the A827 Kenmore to Aberfeldy road  
  • Pier Road, Kenmore 
  • C448 Fortingall to Bridge of Balgie
  • B487 Calvine to Trinafour
  • A923 Blairgowrie to Dunkeld
  • C430 Loch Clunie to Mains of Clunie
  • C452 Foss to Pitlochry

Ramblers Scotland and Mountaineering Scotland would welcome an opportunity to discuss alternative solutions to the parking issues with the council. 

The problems this ban is trying to address are not limited to Perth & Kinross and the two organisations are also calling for a national, strategic approach to tackling the issues relating to visitor pressure experienced in various parts of Scotland this summer.