Gladhouse parking ban to return

Monday March 20th 2023


Gladhouse Reservoir before parking ban, photograph by Lee Live.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A controversial parking ban at a popular reservoir during the summer season will be brought back for a second year from next month.

Midlothian Council plans to reintroduce the six month long ban at Gladhouse Reservoir, amid claims fire and litter remain a major issue at the protected site.

The local authority introduced a clearway, which restricts parking on the road approaching the reservoir last April after reports of wildlife being chased and hurt, and claims of assaults, public urination and litter dumping.

Local users of Gladhouse Reservoir were angered by the decision which they said restricted access for some people who took part in wild swimming and water sports at the site.

It was reported more than 100 cars had been recorded at the reservoir at any given time during the summer months with vehicles parking on grass verges, regular damage to the surrounding area and emergency vehicles unable to access it.

Council officers said at the time: “Visitors have been parking on the grass verge and often erect large campsites, with general antisocial behaviour, including ‘wild toileting’ being reported.”

However a report to councillors tomorrow will tell them the parking ban led to “less danger on the road; less damage to the verge and fencing; less antisocial behaviour.”

It adds: “Despite these improvements there remains problems with fires and litter.”

The reservoir is a Ramsar site – a protected wetland because of a population of pink-footed geese.

It is also home to a large number of greylag geese as well as other waterbirds from tufted ducks to greater crested and little grebes.

Scottish Water, which operates the reservoir funded a countryside ranger employed by the council who is dedicated to the reservoir and monitors visitor behaviour .

The report to councillors said plans by Scottish Water for a car park at the reservoir were ongoing with “a live planning application” lodged with the local authority.

The clearway which will come into effect from April to October restricts parking along the U80 Gladhouse Road which provides direct access to the reservoir, with people able to park to the west of the site.

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