Highland councillors agree £1.5m spend to support tourism in ‘hot spots’

STV News – Nicola Sinclair

The council has agreed to spend £1.5m on a range of measures designed to support tourism and protect the environment.

First in line are four remote areas recognised as ‘hot spots’ by the council’s own seasonal access rangers.

The ‘hot spots’ are Durness and Assynt in Sutherland, Glenbrittle in Skye, and the Road to the Isles in Lochaber.

These areas have felt the brunt of the staycation boom caused by the pandemic and the success of the NC500.

In these more remote parts of the Highlands, the roads network has struggled to cope with increased traffic. Speeding, verge parking and overflowing car parks have become commonplace.

Meantime, farmers and locals have complained about damage to the environment caused by irresponsible visitor behaviour. Rangers have compiled numerous photos of wild camping, littering, tree felling and toileting.

Wednesday’s decision will see significant investment in road and parking improvements and new signage to improve behaviour. It will also pay for seasonal wardens and destination managers, who will work with stakeholders in new local forums.