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Stone blasts campervan chaos on NC500

By David G Scott

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NORTH MP Jamie Stone claims the North Coast 500 is severely impeded by the large number of campervans using the route.

In an open letter to Scotland's transport minister Michael Matheson, Mr Stone talks of his personal experience of driving the NC500 and how some campervan drivers are creating a problem.

The Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross stated: "Having recently driven some of the NC500, I have seen for myself the problem presented by the large number of campervans using these roads.

Jamie Stone MP says campervans on the NC500 tourist trail are causing a problem.
Jamie Stone MP says campervans on the NC500 tourist trail are causing a problem.

"While some drivers are experienced and drive carefully, giving way to traffic coming in the opposite direction and allowing overtaking whenever possible, the same cannot be said for all campervan drivers."

Mr Stone added that campervans often "severely impede the proper flow of traffic and greatly irritate local people using the road" and could create "very serious" difficulties in a situation where emergency service vehicles have to move at speed.

On Monday morning, a convoy of close to 20 campervans slowly made its way along the east Caithness coast, heading south.

Mr Stone says that he has engaged with constituents at clinics throughout the north Highlands and at "every single one" he was told the same story. "Tourism is good for the local economy and the NC500 is a success but the sheer weight of traffic is a real problem – not only in terms of slowing local traffic up but also in terms of the maintenance of roads and lay-bys and visiting road users disposing of waste."

In the letter to the transport minister he suggested that the Scottish Government should underpin the success of NC500 by "allocating additional resources" to the upkeep of the roads involved. The MP further suggested that a tolling scheme could be put in place for non-local large vehicles such as campervans.

"This would entail the payment of a set charge to travel on a certain defined route. The same could applied to all non-local minibuses and buses."

If the scheme was shown to have no impact on local people and businesses using the route it could also "bring in significant monies that would then be earmarked for the maintenance of local roads, lay-bys, signage and even toilets".

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