East Lothian issue overnight beach parking fines

Monday May 22nd 2023


The car park at Yellowcraig beach.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Parking wardens in East Lothian have issued 14 fines to people who parked overnight in its beach car parks in the first month since a ban was introduced.

East Lothian Council brought in an experimental ban on overnight parking at 20 of its popular car parks, including those on the coast, at the start of April in a bid to crackdown on antisocial behaviour.

And in the first few weeks it has revealed that despite signs warning of no parking between 10pm and 6am, a number of £100 fines had been issued.

Six of the 14 penalty notices were issued at Yellowcraig car park, near North Berwick, with two issued at White Sands, Longniddry Bents No3 and Gullane Bents car parks and single fines issued at John Muir Country Park and Shore Road, at Belhaven.

The local authority has seen a surge in tourists coming to its beaches and countryside since the Covid-19 pandemic but it has led to issues with fires, litter and human waste.

It is estimated that about three million people now visit the county’s coast every year, making it the most visited coastline in Scotland.

But much of the coast is also designated as areas of special interest, and concern over the impact of heavy traffic has been raised.

A report to cabinet members earlier this year said: “Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, coastal car parks in East Lothian have seen a considerable increase in the numbers of vehicles parking overnight associated with visitors camping in and near beach areas and in the car parks.

“This camping activity has caused damage to the biodiversity of this protected area by the lighting of fires and barbecues, as well as generating litter, including human waste.”

It added: “There has also been an increase in the numbers of campervans and motorhomes parking overnight at coastal car parks rather than at formal camping locations.

“The council-operated car parks do not have the facilities to support campervans or motorhomes, and damage has been caused by the unlawful emptying of chemical toilets.”

Cabinet members agreed to introduce the overnight ban as an ‘experimental measure’ as well as introducing new motorhome/campervan spaces at two of its coastal car parks which can be pre-booked on the council website as it explores alternative options for visitors.

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