A motorhome owners campaign group wants to create dozens of stopping points – or ‘aires’ – in North Wales.
CAMPRA – the Campaign for Real Aires UK – says the introduction of dedicated facilities for overnight stays would boost tourism.
They also believe it could help tackle some instances of ‘dirty camping’ although added its members are already responsible when they have overnight stays.
The ‘aires’ would have basic facilities to secure fresh water and empty waste – with councils charging a small fee to those staying.
Organiser Carolyn Mitchell believes it could bring benefits to the North Wales economy – placing visitors in the heart of towns, where they can then spend money.
She believes every town in the region could have an ‘aire’ – which are popular in France, Germany and Italy.
She said: “I am part of a group of over 10,000 motorhome owners who are keen to see the introduction of dedicated facilities for motorhomes throughout the UK.
“We have formed a Facebook group called Campra – the Campaign for Real Aires UK, whose membership has grown from 600 to 10,000 in just over two months.
“As a motorhomer, I have no need for caravan and camp sites.
“They are dedicated to providing services, usually some distance from towns with their restaurants, pubs, shops, etc.
“The users of these sites have alternative transport, which motorhome owners generally do not. We need to be close to town centres so that we can avail ourselves of the facilities there.
“Most of us are retired, with good disposable income, and we travel all year round – often preferring to visit places out of season, when camp sites are traditionally closed.”
She added: “The very nature of motorhoming is that it allows us the freedom to visit different places, staying one or two nights, before moving on.
“We have all the facilities on board which allow us to do this. All we require is a dedicated place to stop overnight – and if there are facilities to fill with fresh water and empty grey waste (from washing up, showers etc) and black waste (toilet waste) then so much the better.”
She added: “As far as I am aware, there are no aires in Wales at all.
“Powys allow overnight stops in their car parks at a cost of £5 per night, but many places are seen as being anti-motorhome. The Pembrokeshire National Park is a prime example, as is, unfortunately, Llandudno.”
Carolyn added: “For many years, motorhomers have ‘wild camped – although we prefer to say we are parking overnight – in many places all over the UK without too much of a problem.
“However, this year, because of the ‘staycation’ trend we have been joined by new motorhome owners and tent/caravan campers who feel they have the right to park up anywhere, set out tables and chairs etc and dump their waste wherever they see fit.
“There has been much in the press about this so called ‘dirty camping’ and many areas are now banning motorhomes altogether.
“They will find however, that the problems don’t go away.
“Firstly, much of the problem comes from day trippers and tent campers (leaving litter, used nappies and human waste because the facilities for disposal either don’t exist or are not emptied/cleaned often enough). This problem will continue, even where a ban on motorhomes has been imposed.
“People perceive that all motorhomes empty their waste inappropriately and leave litter, which is not the behaviour of the vast majority of motorhomers, who are responsible.
She said the economy could benefit: “Initial figures from members indicate that it is not unusual for them to spend in the region of £100 per visit – multiply this by the number of motorhomes in the UK (250,000 and rising) and bear in mind that these visits usually only last 24-48 hours before the motorhome moves on to spend again in the next location.
“Ideally we would love to see some dedicated motorhome parking in every town – 3-5 spaces in a car park, big enough for motorhomes.
“Obviously, not every town would need to have waste disposal facilities, but it would be great to see even half a dozen throughout North Wales.”
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