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Staycationers – Money from the Aire? Opportunities for Landowners and Tenants

Published: 18 August 2021
Time to read: 2 mins

Many Farmers have already successfully diversified into camping and glamping and seen an increase in income as a result. With the current trends towards caravanning and motor-homing there has also been demand in Scotland for more Aires.

Aires are common across European tourist destinations and are motorhome stopovers set up on public or private land which allow motorhomes and campervans to stop in exchange for a small fee.  They typically have limited facilities allowing for water collection and disposal.  As well as providing an injection of modest income for the host, it is felt they boost local economies by encouraging those travelling to spend locally and help prevent any issues with litter and waste.

In response to Scottish Government guidelines in response to COVID-19, Local Authorities have also relaxed their planning rules to allow more flexibility with permitted development rights and the usual 28 day restriction on temporary campsites. These could include Aires for motor-homes and caravans.  That being said, each Local Authority has its own rules on such matters therefore a check with the relevant Council would be prudent to establish whether a licence is necessary, and the costs involved.

Local Authorities have been attempting to engage with the camping and motor-homing fraternity in efforts to combat the “dirty” side of this trend which can be a huge frustration for Landowners who feel unable to resolve issues.  Dumfries & Galloway Council has recently been praised on social media for engaging with wild campers and motorcycles at Clatteringshaws, a picturesque reservoir near New Galloway where they distributed goody bags containing portable ashtrays, trowels, bin bags and leaflets.

Tenant Farmers ought to be mindful that they should check the terms of their Tenancy and ideally discuss the proposal with their Landlord before embarking on offering an Aire on their land.

There is clearly a balance to be found and whilst criminal prosecutions or court Interdicts are rarely a useful method for Landowners to deal with existing troublesome popular spots, perhaps there are also new opportunities for profit from diversification and for community engagement to go hand in hand.

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