We reported a few days ago that the caravan industry is currently improving the UK economy as it provides around six billion pounds a year. Furthermore, there has been an increase in the amount of people in the UK who are now investing in caravans, caravan insurance, and planning to spend their holidays at campsites in the UK instead of going abroad. However, even though the industry is booming, those that wish to open up new campsites in order to cater to increasing demand are finding it difficult.
Usually it’s residents of towns and villages that object to plans for campsites to be built, however in Scotland a council is finding objections from an environmental agency. Shelia Cudbury petitioned to build a new campsite in the town of Strathcarron, Ross-shire, and eventually got backing from the Highland Council’s planning committee, however now the plans have had to be deferred due to the fact that the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has claimed that the area is prone to flooding.
SEPA has said that if the campsite, which would include ten parking spaces, was created then it would create a medium to high risk of flooding in the area. In order for the campsite to go ahead they have asked Ms Cudbury to obtain a flood risk assessment, however as this will cost up to three thousand pounds she has claimed that it is too expensive and has refused. She claims that as her and her husband are retired and the campsite will be a relatively small development the risk assessment is unnecessary, especially as she has already cleaned and deepened a ditch and supplied a topographic survey and description of the flood plain which says there is no local knowledge about flooding in the area.
George Farlow, a councillor from the Ullapool area has said that SEPA’s views on flooding are too rigid, and that many people who visit the Highlands expect wet weather. He said: “I understand where Dafydd Jones is coming from on this but I thought a wee bit about using common sense. If we refuse this I cannot imagine it would be the same logic to every single music festival in Scotland which would be cancelled and I think even the Black Isle Show would be at risk.” Ministers will eventually have the final say on whether plans to build the campsite can go ahead.