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Wales Tourism Alliance calls for register to manage pop up campsites

Written by on 19th August 2021

The Wales Tourism Alliance is calling for the introduction of a Register of Pop-Up Campsites to help councils manage unlicensed camp site accommodation across Wales.

Although 56-day pop-up campsites are permitted under the Welsh Government’s relaxation of the General Permitted Development Order, the growth of new sites in some destinations has been pronounced, placing additional pressures on natural and built resources.

Andrew Campbell, chair of the WTA, which represents all sectors of tourism industry in Wales, said: “Our call for a national register has been made to help manage the unprecedented demand of visitors to many parts of Wales. At the moment, we have little idea of the number of new sites that have emerged or the number of visitors that are staying in destinations.

“Such information would help plan and manage resources more effectively. Put simply, what you cannot measure, you cannot manage. Sustainable development is crucial for the success of this industry and key to that is the protection of communities, culture and landscape.”

Unlike licensed sites, which require formal planning permission and adherence to statutory requirements, developments under the 28/56 Day Rule are not restricted to limits on visitor numbers.

Dorothy Panton, managing director of Caerfai Bay Caravan and Tent Park, St Davids,  said: “It has been an incredibly busy season and there can be no doubt that high visitor numbers in the area have been swelled by the increase in unlicensed enterprises operating under the 56 Day Rule.

“This has resulted in several notable impacts including lower than usual water pressure triggering the need to replenish the St Davids Glasfryn Reservoir by water tankers.”

On the issue of disparity between licensed and unlicensed sites, British Holiday and Home Parks Association director general, Ros Pritchard commented: “Whilst licensed businesses have to adhere to the conditions of licence and maintain quality standards, we have now come into direct competition with sites with no licence and little if any regulation. A level playing field is essential.”

The WTA believes that a register would also serve to help authorities monitor usage and any breaches to the 28/56 day time allowance.