A new organisation, Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA), has been formed to campaign for the creation of 'aires' in the UK.
What are aires?
The term is taken from the French 'aire de camping-car' meaning a stopping place for campervans and motorhomes.
Motorhome stopovers, or aires, exist across Europe, often established by local communities as a way of attracting tourism to places where no other tourism exists, or where motorhomes and campervans turn up anyway and are in need of somewhere to go. They are usually located in, or close to, villages, towns or cities and offer an alternative to formal campsites that are often situated some distance from local amenities. They are intended for short stays, and are almost always for use exclusively by motorhomes and campervans. In general they provide overnight parking and often services such as a fresh water supply, disposal for toilet waste and for waste water. Usually 'camping' behaviour is not allowed, such as setting up chairs, tables, barbecues etc and putting out awnings.
The idea is to encourage visitors to come and, because they can stay for a night or two, spend money in the local area. They may also be set up in order to regulate the parking of motorhomes and campervans, in popular areas where inappropriate parking has been an issue, by providing official allocated parking areas and thus welcoming the visitors rather than driving them away with restrictions.
CAMpRA's aim is to encourage its supporters to campaign for official motorhome and campervan aires (also service points for replenishing fresh water and the emptying of toilets and waste water) to be created in the UK, which is sadly lacking in this regard. It is centred around their Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/campra.uk/ and backed by a Leadership Team who coordinate matters.
The Facebook group is very active, not only in promoting the idea of aires but also challenging the introduction of motorhome parking restrictions by local councils and suggesting alternative solutions.
A website www.campra.org.uk/ is currently under development and you can follow them on Twitter: twitter.com/CAMpRAUK and Instagram: www.instagram.com/campra_uk/