There have been significant changes in the type and volume of recreation activities enjoyed on Loch Lomond, particularly in recent years.
More and more people are enjoying non-powered activities such as swimming, paddleboarding and kayaking as well as spending time by the water, even if not taking part in a specific activity. NatureScot report that nationally there has been a 10% increase in non-powered, water related activities and a 14% increase in people visiting lochs (NatureScot,, September 2021). This national upward trend in activity is generally felt by staff and stakeholders to be even higher on Loch Lomond.
At the same time, the volume of motorised craft registered with the National Park Authority for use on Loch Lomond has also increased (13% increase between 2019-21). Personal water craft (PWCs), commonly known as jet skis or jet bikes, have also become the most popular type of craft registered for use on the Loch, with a 38% increase seen in PWC registrations between 2019-21.
While more people enjoying the Loch responsibly is a positive, these changes combined also increase the potential for conflict between the ways different users want to use Loch Lomond. At times this has led to incidences of disturbance, anti-social behaviour and increased risks to different users.
The number of byelaw contraventions recorded by National Park Rangers has also significantly increased in recent years (119% increase in recorded contraventions between 2019-2021). The highest number of recorded contraventions (44%) was for speeding in lower speed limit zones. The majority of these recorded contraventions are concentrated into certain areas of the Loch where increases in other activities are also taking place.
While this may reflect a change in behaviours, it also indicates that the existing byelaws may not provide a strong enough deterrent to the minority of loch users who are not receptive to general responsible enjoyment messages.
It is recognised that some of the data presented here covers an exceptional period of time during the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020-2021 when UK and international travel was restricted. This period had wide ranging impacts on recreation opportunities and behaviour. Data is continuously being collected throughout 2022 and beyond to help us better understand whether these changes in activity and behaviours on the Loch are reflective of a sustained trend or whether they will begin reverting to levels seen in prior to the pandemic. However, it is vital that the 2022 review of the Loch Lomond Byelaws takes these changes into account in order to address and manage the uses and behaviours taking place on the Loch.
The experience of the National Park Authority and Police Scotland in implementing and enforcing the byelaws over the years also provides further valuable information which must be taken into account to ensure that the byelaws can be understood and implemented as effectively as possible.
These changes and experiences, along with insight from key stakeholder groups, have been used to inform proposed changes to the Loch Lomond Byelaws outlined in our Consultation Document, particularly to create clear rules for the busiest areas of the loch to avoid accidental violations and provide deterrents and efficient enforcement processes to reduce deliberate contraventions.
Read more about the review of the Loch Lomond Byelaws.
Update 19th October 2022: The public consultation on the review 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.