The Highland Council has announced plans to temporarily relax licensing regulations, enabling landowners with suitable sites to provide motorhome stopovers.
It is believed to be the first local authority in the UK to do this.
The council is adapting to the increase of motorhome ownership in the UK and the demand for self-contained holidays during the pandemic, by creating an opportunity to offer short stopovers for visitors.
As part of its visitor management plan, the authority has created a landowner guide to create temporary motorhome stopovers, intended to give an introduction to what can be provided with minimum legislative constraints.
However, no separate legal definition currently exists, so the guidance is based on existing legislation relating to planning and licensing of caravan and campsites and when or where any exemptions exist.
The Highland Council proposes to take a constructive approach to support businesses, community groups and individual landowners who wish to offer their car parks or land to address some of the pressures anticipated during the 2021 summer season.
This change allows temporary use of appropriate locations for overnight stops in motorhomes, without the need for formal planning permission, where it is considered safe and reasonable.
The council has also been working with communities and a number of commercial campsites to ensure waste disposal options are available around the Highlands for those visiting in motorhomes.
The temporary relaxation of planning control will be kept under continual review and will remain in place until 31 December 2021, or until the requirements for physical distancing have been removed.
Councillor Gordon Adam, chair of the council’s tourism committee, said: “The demand for traveling via motorhome has been intensified during the pandemic and as a result has created significant pressures for safe overnight parking in our rural communities.”
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