The move from Stirling Council and Police Scotland comes in response to day-trippers who are flouting the 5-mile recreational travel guidance from the Scottish Government.
Communities across rural Stirling saw an influx of visitors after Phase 1 of lockdown restrictions were implemented on 29 May.
Issues around illegal parking, traffic congestion, dangerous driving and littering at various rural hot spots were all reported to Stirling Council, Police Scotland and the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park.
Stirling Council responded by stepping up enforcement during the week, and can today confirm that 21-day temporary road closures allowing local access only will now be in force at:
- Drymen on the B837 (to prevent access to Balmaha)
- Bracklinn Road, Callander near Bracklinn Falls
Signs will be in place and the new arrangements will be enforced by Police Scotland. Traffic Scotland has also implemented temporary speed restrictions on the A84/A85 Stirling to Crianlarich Trunk Road at the Cabin, Loch Lubnaig.
Public safety behind decision
Stirling Council is taking these measures, with support from Police Scotland, to protect public safety.
Councillor Jim Thomson, convener for the Environment and Housing Committee said: “These are tough but necessary measures to protect our communities.
“The message from the Scottish Government came loud and clear last week – don’t flock to rural beauty spots – but people made their own decision to ignore this advice.
“Those actions impacted our communities and left some people scared to leave their homes. That is unacceptable and we have worked with our partners to put in place robust measures to protect public safety.”
Cllr Danny Gibson, vice convener said: “Last week we saw people abandoning their cars, leaving rubbish behind, toileting in residents’ gardens and generally showing a complete disregard for public health and national guidance.
“Aside from that, the congregation of large numbers of people ignoring social distancing like we saw and was reported to us in Balmaha last weekend creates a huge risk of spreading Coronavirus.
“We have to remember that lockdown is not over, and every action we take could still have an impact on other people.
“Stirling Council will be delighted to welcome back visitors when it’s safe to do so, but now is not the time, and our message is clear – if you don’t live here, please don’t travel here for recreation.”
Police Scotland message
Chief Inspector Mark Paterson from Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit said: "The regulations remain that people should only leave the house for very limited purposes, for example for basic necessities, for exercise or recreation, for medical needs or travelling for work which cannot be done from home.
"The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to protect the NHS and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.
“Following the Scottish Government's guidance about avoiding travelling long distances will stop our parks, beaches, lochs and hills from becoming over-crowded and help ensure appropriate physical distancing is maintained, reducing the spread of Coronavirus.
“With these road closures and traffic restrictions in place, our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance. We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation.
"We recognise that people have made significant sacrifices until now and while the temptation may be to head straight for one of our beauty spots, we would ask people to use their judgement and avoid going to places which are normally busy during good weather.”
Council Car Parks
The following Council Car Parks will also remain closed, with enforcement staff on patrol:
- Callander Station Rd Car Park
- Callander Meadows Car Park
- Callander Bracklinn Falls Car Park
- Balmaha Car Park
- Queens View Car Park, Strathblane
- Blair Logie car park
- Dumyat, Sheriffmuir Rd
- Plean Country Park car park