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Highland Council warning to visitors over litter and fires

By Alan Hendry

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Litter left behind by wild campers in a Highland woodland. Picture: James Mackenzie
Litter left behind by wild campers in a Highland woodland. Picture: James Mackenzie

Visitors are being urged by Highland Council to treat the natural environment with respect and help keep the region free of rubbish this summer.

They have also been warned about the damage that can be caused by fires or barbecues.

The council's outdoor access manager Philip Waite said: “The Highland landscape is spectacular at this time of year, with many opportunities to observe our fantastic wildlife.

"We ask everyone to enjoy the outdoors but to do so responsibly and play their part in keeping the Highlands protected.

"Bag up litter and take it home if bins are unavailable or full. Do not leave bin bags at the side of full litter bins – there’s no litter fairy that magically scoops up roadside litter, but there are birds and animals that can shred the bags and create a mess.

"Not only is this unsightly, it is also a serious threat to wildlife and the environment.

“People should also consider the damage and destruction even a small open fire or barbecue may have on the environment or people around them. Burnt grass or peat can take years to restore, as could trees cut for fuel.

"Dry whin bushes can quickly catch light from a stray spark and peaty ground can catch light under the fire. Hot embers or discarded barbecues are a danger to others if left behind and a real risk of starting a wildfire.

"If you can’t leave no trace, then don’t have a fire.”

Mr Waite pointed out that seasonal access rangers are engaging with visitors and communities over the summer months. They can be contacted by email at accessrangers@highland.gov.uk or, for the northern part of the region, by calling 07909 051223.

He added: "We do ask that people are realistic in their expectations and recognise that the rangers are not an emergency service and are there to engage, educate and carry out remedial works."

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