A public consultation has been launched to gather views on proposed changes to byelaws managing safe and responsible use of Loch Lomond.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority has set out proposals for changes to the Loch Lomond Byelaws as part of a 12-week consultation.
Introduced in 1996, the Loch Lomond Byelaws help to manage recreational activity on the Loch and balance the multiple environmental, economic and social interests and impacts connected to the Loch. The current byelaws set out measures including speed limits in certain areas and a registration system for powered vessels. The byelaws are required by law to be reviewed at least every 10 years.
The six key changes to the byelaws being proposed in the consultation are:
- the creation of zones for only low or non-powered activities (such as swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, or fishing) in order to improve safety in areas where there is a higher risk of safety issues, conflict and disturbance.
- the compulsory wearing of personal flotation devices (such as life jackets) for everyone under 16 on all vessels when on open decks to improve safety for young people.
- the transfer of liability for offences committed by someone under 16 in sole charge of a powered vessel to the registered owner of the vessel when there is no supervising adult.
- the introduction of a new Loch Lomond User Registration Scheme, in addition to the registration of a vessel, meaning any individual using a motorised vessel must be registered with the Park Authority in advance. This is to make the identification of individuals easier in the event of a byelaw contravention.
- Simplify processes around businesses operating on the Loch by changing the existing Permission to Trade byelaw to focus only on businesses on the Loch causing nuisance.
- Amend the boundary of the existing lower speed zone around Inchmoan island to be more easily identifiable for Loch users.These proposals have been put forward following discussion with more than 50 groups of local residents, businesses, Loch users, emergency services and interest groups and based on the experience of National Park Rangers operating the existing byelaws. A number of other minor amendments to the byelaws are also set out for consideration.
The public consultation will run from Wednesday 27th July until Wednesday 19th October. Views from this consultation will help shape the final proposed byelaws to be presented to the National Park Authority Board and then, subject to Board approval, to Scottish Ministers for approval.
Kenny Auld, Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority, said: “Loch Lomond is an iconic and special place, for its value to nature and the environment, for the multiple recreation and wellbeing opportunities it offers, and the economic value it provides for the many businesses and communities around it.
“The byelaws are there to help manage the Loch, balance those many opportunities and to support people to enjoy the water safely and responsibly.
“As the ways in which Loch Lomond is used have changed over time, the byelaws must be reviewed to ensure they continue to provide a clear and understandable set of rules for people to follow, as well as an effective deterrent to irresponsible behaviour and a tool for enforcement when necessary.
“There have been significant changes in the type and volume of recreation activities enjoyed on the Loch in recent years, including an increase in activities such as open water swimming and paddle boarding and a marked upturn in personal water craft such as jet skis.
“Alongside those trends, there have been increased incidences of disturbance, anti-social behaviour and safety risks, with a 119 per cent increase in byelaw contraventions between 2019-2021, almost half of which were for speeding.
“Taking into account the data gathered, the wealth of experience of our staff and partners, and insights gathered from a range of stakeholders, we are putting forward these proposed changes for consultation and inviting everyone with an interest in Loch Lomond to share their views.”
The full details of the Loch Lomond Byelaw Review including the online consultation survey can be found at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/byelawreview
Hard copies will be available to pick up from National Park Headquarters in Balloch, Duncan Mills Memorial Slipway in Balloch and Balmaha Visitor Centre, along with other partner or community premises listed on our website at www.lochlomond-trossachs.org/byelawreview