The Pentland Hills Regional Park is proposing to introduce parking charges at certain car parks within the Regional Park, and is running a public consultation on the idea. Why not have your say?
'Like most local authority services, the Ranger Service is facing significant financial pressures and additional sources of income need to be found to maintain the level of visitor and environmental management currently being provided' they say on their website. 'The money raised through car park charging would go directly towards improving the Regional Park.'
The car parks up for consideration are Threipmuir, Harlaw, Bonaly and Flotterstone. Though it's now commonplace in the busier parts of Welsh and English National Parks, pay-and-display parking has yet to reach many parts of rural Scotland. Despite being heavily used hills right on Edinburgh's doorstep parking in the Pentlands has hitherto been free. Though asked to participate in this article and further explain their proposal the Regional Park have failed to do so.
Not everyone is keen on the idea. UKC/UKH user Digby says:
'Car parking charges are the lazy way to get money. And I hate it. I'm retired now and it means a lot to me to have free access to the hills, and that freedom should extend to a relief from the pressures of town life, and the notorious Edinburgh parking restrictions and charging culture. It is a cultural thing. And an unwelcome one in hills, as can be seen in other, admittedly more popular areas. As an active [member of] the Carnethy Hill Running Club I go to the hills all the time, as do our club and other running clubs in Edinburgh. It could potentially impact us severely. Being retired I'm not overly well off. They should recruit someone with bright ideas to make money with more creative schemes than this.'
'[The park] should also consider how much is being spent on absolute essentials like paths & gates, and how much is spent on non essentials such as visitor centres, interpretation & signage, and maybe reduce the latter unless [they] can find a way of making visitor centres generate money by selling stuff or having cafés. What about farm produce? Farmers markets, or even market days? Could be fun in good summer weather.'
What do you think? The Regional Park is keen to hear your views. If you would like to take part in the consultation and receive a copy of the questionnaire they ask that you contact them via an online form, stating that you would like to particpate in the consultation.
All comments must be recieved by Friday 27th May.