The government agency, one of the country’s largest landowners, suggested “a blanket ban on camping within 400 metres of a public road” in an internal minute from 2014, just released under freedom of information law.
According to countryside campaigners, such a widespread ban would undermine the “right to roam” law, turn the clock back more than a hundred years, and criminalise people enjoying the countryside. The commission, however, says it was “a throw-away comment”.
The comment was made during a meeting with Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park Authority on 22 September last year. The meeting was to discuss the park’s controversial proposal to ban camping without permission on long stretches of loch shores, currently being considered by ministers.
A minute of the meeting records Forestry Commission Scotland as being “keen to secure solutions which covered all situations”. The commission complained that ”the current understanding of the meaning of wild camping was poor and that car boot camping and motorhome issues were growing across all of Scotland.”
The commission promised to raise concerns about the need for “wider review of car boot camping and antisocial behaviour and instigation of new measures to deal with it,” the minute said. “A possible suggestion for this could be a blanket ban on camping within 400m of a public road or recognised formal recreation facility car park.”