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Loch Lomond Byelaw Review: Outcomes & Proposals

The Loch Lomond Byelaws are required by law to be reviewed every ten years and were last reviewed in 2012.

It is vital that they are updated to respond to changes on the loch over time, ensuring they provide clear rules and guidance to support safe and responsible enjoyment of the water and robust deterrents to irresponsible and dangerous behaviours.

Outcomes for this review

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  • Safer enjoyment of the water for all loch users and especially young people
  • Protecting the environment
  • Increased participation in healthy recreation by making space for all users and types of activities
  • Minimising incidents of anti-social behaviour and disturbance to communities and loch users
  • Appropriate and effective management and enforcement through clear and understandable rules

In addition, the byelaw review is also an opportunity for us to begin discussions with key stakeholders on how to further monitor and manage environmental impacts on Loch Lomond. These ambitions, as well as our climate and nature goals for the National Park as a whole, will be explored and consulted on in more detail as part of the overarching strategic plan for the whole National Park, the National Park Partnership Plan, which is being developed later this year.

Changes proposed in this review

Six fundamental changes are being proposed to the Loch Lomond Byelaws to help meet these outcomes, along with a number of other minor revisions. These proposals have been developed based on the changes seen on the Loch in recent years, experience by the National Park Authority and our partners enforcing the byelaws, and insight from key stakeholder groups. You can read further information on each of these proposed changes in the Consultation Document. A table of all changes being proposed is also available in the document.

Proposal 1: Introduce Low-Powered Activity Zones

The creation of six zones for only low or non-powered activities, such as paddleboarding, swimming, kayaking and fishing, in order to improve safety in areas where there is a higher risk of safety issues, conflict and disturbance. These zones would be small in nature and are being proposed at:

  • Balloch Castle Country Park
  • Duck Bay
  • Luss
  • Manse Bay
  • Milarrochy
  • Sallochy
  • Rowardennan

Powered craft permitted to use these zones would be limited to only vessels under 15 horse power (11.2 kilowatts) such as a tender or small fishing boat.

Download maps of these proposed Low-Powered Activity Zones below.

Proposal 2: Amend the boundary of the existing lower speed zone around Inchmoan island to be more easily identifiable for loch users.

The current 11kph zone boundary in this area of the Loch is understood to be difficult for motorised craft users to identify on the water. This means that some loch users are not clear on when they are required to reduce speed in order to comply with the byelaws, as well as making enforcement of speeding contraventions in this area more challenging.

Reducing the current zone as set out on the map below would allow vessel users to use Inchgalbraith as a visual geographic reference to ascertain their position in relation to the lower speed limit zone much more easily and in all weather conditions. This would also be replicated to the east between Ellanderroch and Inchmoan.

Proposal 3: Compulsory wearing of Personal Flotation Devices for young people (under 16s) on all vessels when on open decks

Under the current byelaws, Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) such as lifejackets or buoyancy aids need to be carried on board powered and non-powered vessels but it is not compulsory for these to be worn.

While the safety of all loch users is of the utmost importance, adult loch users can be reasonably expected to make an informed decision on when it is necessary to wear personal flotation devices for safety reasons. However, for young people under the age of 16, the ability to make an informed decision about their personal safety is reduced.

This proposal would increase safety for young people and reduce the likelihood of drowning due to cold water shock by introducing the compulsory wearing of life jackets or buoyancy aids for under 16s on all vessels (including non-powered vessels).

Proposal 4: Transfer liability for offences committed by a young person in sole charge of a powered vessel to the registered owner of the vessel when there is no supervising adult

Under the current byelaws, a young person (under 16) is allowed to take control or be in charge of a vessel with a greater engine power than 5 horsepower (3.7 kilowatts) when supervised by an adult who is also present on the vessel. A young person can also be in sole charge of any
vessel under 5 horsepower (3.7 kilowatts).

To prevent unnecessary enforcement action being taken against young people who are found to be in sole charge of any vessel, the National Park Authority deems it reasonable to transfer liability for any byelaw contraventions recorded, during the use of the vessel by a young person, to the Owner or Registered Owner of the vessel. Emphasis is also placed on the Owner or Registered Owner to be ultimately responsible for ensuring they are conscious and mindful of who is taking charge of their vessel at any time.

Proposal 5: Introduce a new Loch Lomond User Registration scheme

Currently all motorised vessels and their owners are required to be registered for use on Loch Lomond. However, individuals using motorised vessels, who may not be the owner of the vessel, are not required to register.

Every year false identification is provided to authorised officers by a minority of loch users behaving dangerously and irresponsibly. Unlike on land with the Camping Management Byelaws, it is not practical on the loch to verify a user’s identity or to request Police Scotland attendance each time to demand details.

Introducing a scheme requiring an individual who intends to be in charge (Master) of a vessel to have completed an application with the National Park Authority in advance would allow individuals to be more easily identified in the event of a contravention and to progress enforcement action when necessary.

Proposal 6: Amend the existing Permission to Trade byelaw to solely deal with business practices causing nuisance on the Loch and its surroundings

Under the current byelaws, businesses are required to apply for permission to trade on Loch Lomond from the National Park Authority. However, there are also several other national and local regulatory frameworks in place to deal with each aspect of business practices on or around the Loch.

Amending this byelaw to focus solely on business practice causing nuisance would avoid duplication, simplifying the process for both responsible businesses and the National Park Authority, while at the same time still providing some additional control on businesses causing nuisance on the Loch.

Other matters considered

A number of other proposals were considered during this review, including introducing a requirement for insurance or levels of training for anyone using a vessel on the Loch, introducing a requirement for landowner permission to launch power-driven vessels, and a ban on the use of Personal Water Craft (such as jetskis), amongst other proposals.

These proposals were not taken forward for consultation because there was either insufficient evidence or consensus. However, these issues and proposals can still be considered further during, and after, the public consultation if respondents raise further evidence or a sufficient scale of feeling about them.

Read the Consultation Document for more information.

Update 19th October 2022: The public consultation on the review of the Loch Lomond Byelaws ran for 12 weeks from Wednesday 27th July 2022 until Wednesday 19th October 2022. The consultation is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted a response. We are now working to analyse the responses. Views from this consultation will help shape the final proposed byelaws to be presented to the National Park Authority Board and then to Scottish Ministers for approval in 2023.

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