TOURISM has changed, bringing new challenges for communities.

Recently, I took my eldest son to the Isle of Lewis to show him family graves and the sites I knew as a boy. Cruise liners were in Stornoway Harbour every day, dwarfing the CalMac ferry we’d sailed in on and bringing challenges to local scenic sites.

Providing for them comes at a cost and it shouldn’t just be borne by the local community. Exactly as I think a modest tourist levy upon myself and my son perfectly reasonable, so should a charge for visitors disembarking from these sea leviathans.

Similarly, sailing out of Ullapool, the campsite there was full of campervans and tents were few. Now I have friends who use them. One couple I know travel extensively not just in the UK and Ireland but across Europe. Another friend is a hill climber and mountaineer, using his as a base for his jaunts. Like most campervan users, they respect where they’re staying and seek to utilise appropriate sites.

Unfortunately, there’s a minority who don’t, simply parking up where they wish, whether it’s appropriate and not caring about the consequences of their stay. Island graveyards should be respected and East Lothian towns likewise.

Parking sites built for short stays aren’t constructed for campervans nor capable of sufficing. Moreover, they can have an adverse impact on the local community both in the loss of what they had and also the impact of what they have to endure.

Some areas will always have to be off site, as my Munro-bagging friend will testify. But in areas such as North Berwick, it should be designated sites where facilities are available. There should be a trade-off between a modest charge and services.

We already have commercial sites who provide these facilities and if inadequate they should either be encouraged to expand or other sites provided, whether operated by them or others. But allowing them to park wherever or giving them priority over the local community is wrong.