FEARS of compulsory launching and boat registration charges on Loch Lomond next year appear to have receded, if not quite vanished entirely beneath the waves, following the recent board meeting of the national park’s governing body.

A swift change of tactics by the board of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs national park authority (NPA) brought about a humiliating about turn on the proposal presented by its national executive director, Grant Moir.

Board convener, Dr Mike Cantlay, who is also chair of VisitScotland, the national tourist agency, repeatedly told the meeting that the charges were voluntary NOT compulsory. In addition the NPA publicly confirmed that it had no statutory authority to levy a £30 annual registration fee on boaters.

Peter Jack, chairman of the influential Loch Lomond Association which has represented all of the loch’s recreational users for more than 30 years, reveals the outcome of the fiasco in an open letter to the NPA posted on the association’s forum. It is well worth reading.

Between The Lines cannot better Jack’s insightful interpretation of events and wry observations, but thinks his pay-off warning is worth repeating here:

The NPA is going to have to seriously raise the level of its game in future on the administration of the Park, or some independent national organisation with cash-in-hand is going to test NPA decision-making via a Judicial Review, as a result of which heads are likely to roll in consequence.”

Loch Lomond, as a jewel in the crown of Scottish holiday destinations, deserves the highest standards of public administration for all of its recreational activities. Sadly, as Between The Lines, has commented in the past, it all-too-often seems to fall short.

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