THE row over littering in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has rumbled on this week - with the chief executive of the park authority denying accusations that there were not enough park rangers on patrol to cope with a major influx of visitors.

A LOCAL community body has called upon the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park (LLTNP) authority to explain the lack of park support staff over a weekend which saw high levels of travellers to the area.

The Reporter has seen an exchange of messages between the Community Partnership, a community body, and National Park chief executive Gordon Watson raising concern about the “chaos” endured by local residents – particularly on the weekend of May 30 and 31, when warm weather brought large crowds to the area on the first weekend after the easing of Scotland’s lockdown restrictions.

The partnership asked why park rangers were not visible nor accessible to locals, and called on the continued closure of the car park as responsible for most of the “chaos” at beauty spots.

Reports of “huge amounts” of human fouling in some areas were also highlighted in the letter.

Sally Page, Conservative councillor for the Lomond ward on West Dunbartonshire Council, also raised concerns that the area was under-staffed by the park authority – and claimed the RSPB had received no help from the park authority in looking after its Loch Lomond nature reserve.

Mr Watson said: “It is simply untrue to say that there have been no rangers on patrol around the National Park over the last couple of weeks.

“Both loch and land patrols have resumed and we are increasing our staff deployment over the coming weeks.

“The National Park is a large area and, even under normal circumstances, we simply cannot be everywhere all of the time.

“Our patrols are specifically targeted to cover key hotspot areas. The RSPB nature reserve is not an area we patrol as it is staffed. The main advice to local residents and land managers is that if they are seeing issues in their area the first place to call is Police Scotland.

“We are working extremely closely with key partners in Police Scotland, Transport Scotland, Forestry and Land Scotland the four local authorities to jointly address issues caused by people disregarding the national guidance.

“As well as rangers on patrol, our land operations team have cleared enormous amounts of litter and are carrying out site safety checks and maintenance work.”

A spokesperson from the RSPB said the organisation had received help from the National Park’s staff, stating: “There were no issues last weekend.

“There was some increase in visitors briefly on the first of June which was observed and reported by our warden who lives on site.

“Whilst they [the National Park] could not attend on the day they have been supportive and put in place a procedure if there is any repeat.’