Press Release from Fife Coast & Countryside Trust
Fife Coast & Countryside Trust (FCCT) engaged in a consultation arising from the volume of overnight motorhome parking in Fife. It was evident this growing form of tourism brings not only challenges but opportunities for stakeholders who live in and visit Fife.
This prompted FCCT to produce a consultation document “Freedom Camping - Options Paper on Motorhome Use in Fife”. The report outlined the problems, but more importantly the solutions, that would ensure safer parking, sustainable access and new ways of investing in our communities.
After gauging the views of residents, landowners, Community Councils, Fife Council and visitors, FCCT are set to trial a parking charge scheme at Kingsbarns Beach and Elie Ruby Bay beach car parks which have both seen a significant increase in visitor numbers from motorhome users.
Robbie Blyth, Head of Operations, FCCT commented, “We feel that the time is right for us to pilot the introduction of a modest car parking charges scheme for Kingsbarns and Elie Ruby Bay Beaches. This is very much in line with the feedback from the many stakeholders who expressed their views on the future management of these areas. It is anticipated that moving forward this new initiative will help protect the landscape, boost the local economy and provide funding for local projects.
“Many European countries have realised the benefits for tourism from encouraging motorcaravans to visit by providing a network of safe and sustainable overnight parking and waste points facilities called Motorhome Aires and I look forward to the day that Fife can have a network of such facilities.”
Monies raised will be ringfenced to facilitate safe parking, extend the opening hours of public toilets and to create a network of chemical toilet disposal points. A new toilet block with overnight facilities has already been installed at Kingsbarns with plans for the installation for a new toilet block at Elie Ruby Bay in September 2022.
The following parking charges will come into force from July 2022.
Up to 2 hours free
Over 2 hours £2.00
Free parking for disabled badge holders
Limited overnight parking in designated bays £10.00
A new motorhome leaflet has been produced by FCCT to give guidance to those who visit Fife. We believe it will be especially useful for those new to the motorhome community and give them useful information to get the most out of their visit, but also make them aware of their responsibilities when holidaying in Fife.
Staff will be on hand to offer help and advice as we roll out the new carparking rules. Over the next few months, the trial will be closely monitored, with the option to roll out the scheme at other sites managed by the Trust if successful.
Full information on Fife Coast and Countryside Trust overnight parking for motorhomes is here: fifecoastandcountrysidetrust.co.uk/plan-your-trip/overnight-parking/
Fife Council's Spokesperson for Finance, Economy and Strategic Planning Cllr. Altany Craik welcomed the move to better manage parking in two of Fife's most popular destinations: "We want to encourage visitors to make the most of all that Fife has to offer, and there's no doubt that Kingsbarns Beach and Ruby Bay are fabulous places to go and spend some time.
"By re-investing money raised into improving facilities we are aiming to give Fife’s tourism sector a more sustainable future. And by giving our visitors the best possible experience, we hope to see benefits for our local economy, taking advantage of opportunities to expand the sector in a responsible way.”
Robbie Blyth has allowed us to use his comments on social media to further explain the operation of this scheme:
For several years it’s been a challenge managing this popular venue (Kingsbarns), even before Covid 19. At one time some wanted to ban motorhomes in the area, however common sense prevailed and you may have read the Motorhome Feasibility Study written a couple of years ago in response to the challenge.
The status of this car park is as follows:
The Local Authority lease it from a local landowner for the benefit of all who want to visit Kingsbarns. FCCT operate the carpark under a Parking Charge Notice (PCN) scheme and therefore when a vehicle enters the carpark, they enter into a contractual agreement with the operator (FCCT) on behalf of the Local Authority.
The charge to use the carpark is 0 – 2 (hours free), all day parking 07:00 - 20:00 (£2) and overnight parking (£10). During the hours of 20:00 - 07:00 a vehicle can only park in 1 of the 8 designated bays and that means any vehicle that is taxed, insured, and has a valid MOT.
We have a volunteer warden undertaking a herculean effort assisting with daytime parking and providing guidance on the contractual rules for the carpark. The PCN scheme started on the 15/07/22 and so far, it has helped control the amount of inappropriate overnight parking.
If a member of the public doesn’t comply with their contractual obligations, we are currently issuing a Polite Advisory Notice though in the future we will be issuing and invoice for £100 for those who do not follow the car parking rules. However, for the time being we will continue to engage and educate (Polite Advisory Notice) as we are reluctant to charge £100 for a breach of contract when using the carpark.
At FCCT we want to encourage sustainable use of our coastline and the inland countryside we manage, and our collective objective is to create 100 overnight parking bays in Fife. So far, we have Elie Ruby Bay (7 overnight bays), Kingsbarns (8 overnight bays) and Craigmead Carpark (5 overnight bays) 20 down 80 to go.
Most encounters with motorhome users have been very positive. Unfortunately like all groups a tiny minority let the side down and we had to stop someone pouring the Chemical Waste Cartridge into a small stream last weekend and on Saturday night after undertaking a patrol my van tyres were let down. At FCCT we are determined to make this work and what do we do with the money from the parking charges? Well we invest it into the services we provide.