LOCAL authorities have responded to a local MSP and councillor’s comments regarding mass littering reported in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park area.

Conservative MSP Maurice Curry and Councillor Sally Page were “shocked” by the level of litter discarded within the National Park – and put the blame square on the lack of communication between the Scottish Government and Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National park authority.

The local Conservative politicians also blamed local councils for not being prepared for the influx of visitors, and Scottish Enterprise – owner of some of the land on the park’s West Riverside – for not being prepared to deal with unemptied and overflowing bins.

Gordon Watson, chief executive of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, said: “Significant resources have been put in place across all of our partners to address issues caused by large number of people ignoring the national guidance on not travelling to beauty spots such as the National Park over the last two weekends.

“The National Park Authority has convened and led a huge partnership effort between ourselves, Police Scotland, Transport Scotland, the four local authorities within the Park and Forestry and Land Scotland.

“As a result of this very close and detailed joint working, road restrictions have been introduced, car parks have been closed, there have been additional Police Scotland patrols, traffic enforcement officers have been out, we’ve had Rangers on land and boat patrols, and an enormous amount of litter has been collected from sites that people should not even be visiting at this time.

“In partnership we are also very clearly and consistently communicating the message that people should not be visiting the National Park from other areas at this time.

“The National Park Authority remains fully committed to doing all it can within its powers and resources to look after the Park area, but this isn’t something we can do alone.

“The amount of work that going into managing and responding quickly to these issues over a very wide geographic area is enormous and we will continue to work together to deploy the necessary staff on the ground over the coming weeks, while ensuring their own protection from the virus.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Enterprise said: “It was disappointing to find that those descended on the Loch Lomond West Riverside area following the easing of lockdown restrictions left such a mess.

“As soon as we were made aware of the issue, we immediately alerted our maintenance contractors to clear up the site. After some initial access issues, the site was fully cleared of litter and our contractors continue to monitor the area and carry out daily collections with social distancing and full hygiene measures in place, as well as additional litter picks.”

A WDC spokesperson added: “Litter not only spoils these sites for others, it also poses a health risk to other visitors and our staff who are left to clean it up. Since lockdown was eased, we have continued to work in partnership with Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and have had staff deployed seven days a week to clear litter.”

And the Scottish Government disagreed with the Scottish Conservatives' comments regarding the lack of communication. A spokesperson said: “This is not true – there has been regular engagement with the national parks and we have liaised very closely with them in support of their messaging that they are not ready for a large influx of visitors and are not open for business yet.”