Huge concerns across the Islands and Highlands during the summer and autumn about campervanners and other mobile tourists dumping waste hither and thither across the landscape has provoked a midwinter response from the relevant authorities.

Scottish Water, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Highland Council yesterday (Wednesday 2 December) released new user-friendly guidance for developers of campervan waste disposal points.

An increase in campervan and motorhome tourism, especially over the shortened tourist season of 2020, led to some conflicts about the way in which waste was dealt with.

Closed toilet facilities added to the issue especially in the islands, where communities were unable to take on the stringent cleaning demands of Coronavirus regulations.

Now communities, businesses and public agencies across northern Scotland are working together to improve the infrastructure for these visitors, with sources of funding including the Scottish Government’s Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund (RTIF) helping to provide new facilities.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said: “In particular, there are a limited number of accessible disposal points for chemically-treated campervan toilet waste, especially in rural and island areas - many of which have become popular destinations.

“The new guidance aims to provide a single source of advice and best practice for developers, spanning initial practical considerations and a range of options to enable waste to be disposed of safely and responsibly.” 

The production of the document was led by Scottish Water Horizons, the publicly owned water company’s commercial subsidiary, with funding from all three partners.

Scottish Water’s general manager for waste water operations, Joanne Kay said: “Scottish Water’s central objective is to support a flourishing Scotland, primarily by delivering excellent water and waste water service to our customers while protecting the environment.

“We also want to play our part in supporting the economy and maintaining the well-being of our communities.

 “Particularly at some of our small rural sites, chemically treated toilet waste can present a risk to the good bacteria that play a vital part in the treatment process.

“For that reason, we need to assess requests to connect disposal facilities to the public sewer carefully to ensure we can continue to meet our obligations to the environment and to our existing customers.” 

David Harley, head of water and planning at SEPA, said: “In order to protect Scotland’s world-famous natural environment, everyone from individuals to business owners has a part to play.

“SEPA is committed to playing its part and this guidance is a tangible example of the work being done with partners to help protect our water environment in rural Scotland, while supporting the rural economy.”

You can find the guide for developers at

Picture provided by Scottish Water.