An MS has called for action to tackle the scourge of “irresponsible” fly campers trashing beauty spots in North Wales.
Llyr Gruffydd, who represents the region in the Senedd, has backed angry locals in Capel Curig and Beddgelert who are fed up of illegal campers leaving behind litter and human waste in their wake.
The Plaid Cymru Senedd member wants to make sure that the Welsh Government is doing enough to support local communities and ensure they are given adequate resources to deal with the issue.
As tourist hot spots in Wales gear up for the Easter holidays, Capel Curig community councillor Shan Ashton warned that the problem of illegal camping is “getting worse”.
Mr Gruffydd spoke out on the matter in the Senedd following a meeting with representatives from Capel Curig and Beddgelert community councils, Natural Resources Wales, Eryri National Park, and the National Trust.
In the Senedd, Llyr Gruffydd MS said: “It's the start of the traditional tourism season, and of course that brings all sorts of opportunities and benefits to large parts of Wales.
“But there are some communities where this time of the year does mean the beginning of parking difficulties, littering, illegal camping, and great pressures on local infrastructure.
“Last week, I had a meeting with Capel Curig and Beddgelert community councils, as well as partners including Natural Resources Wales, Eryri national park, the National Trust and others, to discuss some of these challenges and concerns.
“Can I ask therefore for a statement from the Minister responsible for tourism on what the Welsh Government is doing to support these communities, perhaps by helping to improve infrastructure, ensuring that the relevant partners have the necessary resources to deal with problems, and also to help to protect the ecology of these areas?
“Because that is something that is damaged by some irresponsible visitors, who not only don't respect the rules but very often break the law.”
Lesley Griffiths the Welsh Government’s Minister for North Wales replied: “Obviously, while we want to see tourism absolutely boom here in Wales, unfortunately, as is often the case, the minority spoil it for the majority.
“I know the Deputy Minister has recently taken tourism into her portfolio and is looking at a variety of issues around tourism, and I'm sure she'll be very happy to update us via a written statement.”
Capel Curig community councillor Shan Ashton said: “The local community and ecology is suffering terribly because of the problem of fly campers and layby/roadside camper vans appearing everywhere.
“Unlike our usual campers and visitors, they camp for free, contribute absolutely nothing to the local community, but leave behind rubbish, human waste, fire hazards, destroy trees for fire wood, damage signs, have dogs on the loose, trash walls, fences, and gates
“We are trying our very best to tackle the problem. We have a team of community volunteers that regularly collect rubbish, the Park authorities put up new signs, and ask visitors to follow the rules of the countryside code, give them friendly advice, and try to monitor the vehicles that come and go. Unfortunately, despite this, the problem is getting worse, not better. It spoils things for locals and responsible visitors”.