A SET of new stricter Loch Lomond Byelaws will come into force next year aimed at increasing safety in the water and combating antisocial behaviour.

The byelaws, which manage the safe and responsible use of Loch Lomond, were reviewed by Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority last year and a 12-week public consultation was held on proposed changes.

Now, after approval by the Scottish Government, the new policies will come into force on November 1, 2024.

Kenny Auld, head of visitor services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority welcomed the changes which he feels reflect changing trends on the loch.

He said: “Thousands of visitors spend time in, on or by the water of Loch Lomond every year and it is a fantastic resource to have within easy reach of 50 per cent of Scotland’s population.

“These changes to the byelaws are in response to the changes we have seen on the Loch in recent years, specifically the increase in activities such as paddleboarding and a marked upturn in the use of personal watercraft such as jet skis."

Improving safety was the key consideration of the byelaw review, particularly in response to changes in recent years as to how people use Loch Lomond for recreation.

The growing popularity of open water swimming and paddle sports, coupled with significant increases in byelaw breaches, has resulted in the need for additional measures to protect public safety, reduce irresponsible behaviours and make enforcement more efficient.

Between 2019 and 2022 there was a 31 per cent increase in registrations of Personal Water Craft such as jet skis on Loch Lomond.

Between 2012 and 2022, that increase was 61 per cent.

There was a 185 per cent increase in total alleged contraventions of Loch Lomond Byelaws between 2012 and 2022, 53 per cent of which were for speeding.

And Mr Auld explained the national park will prepare for the changes coming into effect in just over 12 months' time.

He added: “Alongside these trends, there have been increased concerns about disturbance, antisocial behaviour and safety risks.

“The new Loch Lomond Byelaws will 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.

Dumbarton and Vale of Leven Reporter: Loch Lomond is enjoyed by a range of of usersLoch Lomond is enjoyed by a range of of users (Image: Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park)

“While the new byelaws cannot be legally enforced until 1st November 2024, we will begin transitioning towards them next season.

"Loch infrastructure will be installed and the systems which will support the implementation of our new Loch User Registration Scheme will be introduced.

"National Park Rangers will also be communicating regularly with visitors and Loch users about the new byelaws in an advisory capacity.”

First introduced in 1996, the Loch Lomond Byelaws form part of a wider combination of measures and approaches to managing and influencing behaviour and activities on the water.

The byelaws are required by law to be reviewed at least every 10 years, with the last changes made in 2013.

The key changes

· The creation of low-speed activity zones at seven near-to-shore locations

· The compulsory wearing of personal flotation devices (life jackets or buoyancy aids) for everyone under 16, on all vessels, in certain circumstances, such as when on open decks

· A provision that the Registered Owner, or owner, of a power-driven vessel under 5hp is guilty of an offence if someone under 16 in sole command or charge of that vessel acts in such a way that they would have committed an offence if they were an adult

· The introduction of a new Loch Lomond User Registration Scheme, meaning any individual wishing to take command or charge of a registered power-driven vessel must also register their personal details with the National Park Authority in advance.

· Removal of the Permission to Trade byelaw - the scope of this byelaw will now focus on businesses who trade in a manner which constitutes a nuisance.

· An amended boundary for the existing 11kph speed zone to the south of Inchtavannach, Inchmoan, and Inchcruin islands.