Western Isles Tax on Visiting Motorhomes

alcam

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I have read through several articles on this ban, and everyone of them also mention things like WE dump our waste in the sea and in rivers, how there are far to many of us, how we prevent islanders getting access to the ferries, (whilst we are a small percentage of the ferry traffic) , how we should not be allowed onto the islands without campsite bookings etc. And if you go onto Facebook it gets even worse. I read one comment “ that’s exactly what they deserve they are scum of the earth, pests that have to be dealt with”. Mistericeman posted comments from Facebook stating our vans should be crushed, and these comments were supported by others. This ban feeds such individuals and even the more moderate islanders reckon that this ban is a form of retribution towards our perceived poor behaviour. If all people read about you are negative comments things get exaggerated and such poor behaviour and comments become accepted norms, and this ban is feeding this.
Sorry you cannot see this Alcam, but this ban is just adding to our poor reputation.
I obviously disagree with you on this , relatively minor , point . I've given , what I think , are good , logical reasons for that .
But carry on fighting the good fight . Think you do a lot of good work though I , again , direct you to what I quoted on post 32 . It really is good advice .
Have to say I think not quoting Facebook is good advice too
 

Fisherman

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I obviously disagree with you on this , relatively minor , point . I've given , what I think , are good , logical reasons for that .
But carry on fighting the good fight . Think you do a lot of good work though I , again , direct you to what I quoted on post 32 . It really is good advice .
Have to say I think not quoting Facebook is good advice too
From small acorns great oaks are born Alcam..
I don’t think this is minor, and it is sending out all the wrong messages to the already poorly informed islanders who only read poor things about us.
Thanks for you comments, I do my best because I sense injustice.

You know alcam I have never queued for a ferry and I doubt if I ever would.
I always book in advance.
Its a bit like I don’t agree with what this chap is saying, but I will fight to give him the right to say it.
This ban in the eyes of some ligitimgses their perceptions about us, it gives them credence and adds fuel to their fire.
But let’s agree to differ, because to quote Robmac “we all want the same thing.”
 

Norfolk NewBoy

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Sorry Gordon, but it’s not a tourist tax that’s being proposed. It’s a Motorhome tax.

Islanders are to be consulted on a plan to tax tourists visiting the Western Isles in motorhomes and campervans.

Also speaking for myself this has got nothing to do with money, it’s the principle that we alone should pay any tax. Also for reasons already given, I am opposed to any kind of tourist tax anywhere. This could be a slippery slope. We heavily subsidise these islands with our taxes, and I fully support this. I have nothing against direct payments for any facilities provided for us such as elsan points.
And I to would still head there regardless, but it’s still a serious injustice to apply a tourist tax on us solely.

I can appreciate your point of view and I can understand your desire to fight against discrimination.
However, I can also be pragmatic.

I was very impressed with the provision of Elsan points, all clearly marked on a map provided by the Hebridean Council along with other information regarding motorhomes and campervans. All bar one of these points were free to use.
WHO is going to use them, other than MHers?

John Smith sleeping on a mattress in the back of his estate car is unlikely to have a cassette toilet fitted; he probably will not even have a small PortaPotti. HE will use public loos or go in the dunes/heather etc (not a lot of hedges up there). But he will be very hard to identify and looking for him would not be economically viable (prosecuting if caught red (brown?) handed should be a different matter).

WE will all be grateful for these facilities and most will pay for an opportunity to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner.
BUT some will not pay: THEY will carry out those vile acts which get us a bad name and lead to us being hated and banned.
So by keeping them "free at the point of use" it is more likely that health and environmental aspects will be considered IMO.

And if that means that all motorhomers have to pay a couple of pounds extra per crossing then I can live with it.
(The motorhomers who ought to object the most are those who are going to book onto campsites: they will not use these free Elsan points ;) )

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch: perhaps there's no such thing as a free sh*t!

Gordon
 

Fisherman

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I can appreciate your point of view and I can understand your desire to fight against discrimination.
However, I can also be pragmatic.

I was very impressed with the provision of Elsan points, all clearly marked on a map provided by the Hebridean Council along with other information regarding motorhomes and campervans. All bar one of these points were free to use.
WHO is going to use them, other than MHers?

John Smith sleeping on a mattress in the back of his estate car is unlikely to have a cassette toilet fitted; he probably will not even have a small PortaPotti. HE will use public loos or go in the dunes/heather etc (not a lot of hedges up there). But he will be very hard to identify and looking for him would not be economically viable (prosecuting if caught red (brown?) handed should be a different matter).

WE will all be grateful for these facilities and most will pay for an opportunity to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner.
BUT some will not pay: THEY will carry out those vile acts which get us a bad name and lead to us being hated and banned.
So by keeping them "free at the point of use" it is more likely that health and environmental aspects will be considered IMO.

And if that means that all motorhomers have to pay a couple of pounds extra per crossing then I can live with it.
(The motorhomers who ought to object the most are those who are going to book onto campsites: they will not use these free Elsan points ;) )

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch: perhaps there's no such thing as a free sh*t!

Gordon
Gordon,

Good post, and I totally concur with your pragmatism.
I liked the humour also red or brown handed :)
But this ban for me simply escalates the mantra that we are a problem needing to be sorted out. As I said earlier just look at the additional comments which are tagged onto reports about this ban.
Yes we are not perfect, and some do us a great disfavour.
When using the facilities on Arran we always put £5 in their donation boxes.
I happen to believe those who think we are scum, or who want our vans crushed are more to be pitied. They are a minority, but many islanders do view us in negative terms, and this ban coming from such a large well known company feeds this mantra.

But to get to your main point taxing us solely is discrimination pure and simple.
Yes we are the only ones who use these facilities, and I have nothing against payments being made mandatory.
But any kind of tourist tax even if even handed across the board is wrong in my honest opinion.
As others have pointed out, we have all paid our taxes before heading for the islands,
and these islands are rightly amongst the most heavily subsidised parts of the UK.
 
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colinm

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And if that means that all motorhomers have to pay a couple of pounds extra per crossing then I can live with it.
(The motorhomers who ought to object the most are those who are going to book onto campsites: they will not use these free Elsan points ;) )
And that's where it becomes discrimitory, we mostly use campsites with just the odd night wilding, why should we pay extra for facilities that we already pay for on campsites. Remember whilst this website is called 'wildcamping' there are a lot on here who also predominantly pay for camping.
 

Fisherman

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The weather, midges , ticks, independence , wee Mrs Cranky , Nessie is a con , alcohol is expencive , goes dark to early in winter , no solar harvest, no income because motorhomers have fled .
Who said Nessie is a con, the days are longer in summer, Barra will never get independence, and you lot reckon skin so soft will sort out the midges :)
 

Norfolk NewBoy

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And that's where it becomes discrimitory, we mostly use campsites with just the odd night wilding, why should we pay extra for facilities that we already pay for on campsites. Remember whilst this website is called 'wildcamping' there are a lot on here who also predominantly pay for camping.

When I cross the Thames at Dartford I pay more than folk who have an address in the locality. Is that discrimination? (It probably affects more vehicles every day than use CalMac every year: a worthy fight?)
When I crossed the Itchen Bridge (https://www.southampton.gov.uk/travel-transport/apply-pay/itchen-bridge/) they wanted me to pay £25 because my MH is more than 2.39m high at the front axle, so it classes as HGV whereas a typical PVC would pay £1.40 . Is that discrimination? (I managed to get it waived and I've never been back.)
When I visit Dunelm Mills at Wisbech I cannot get in with my MH because of the height barriers, whereas I can go to Norwich. Is that discrimination?
How many battles do we need to fight?

I don't like the thought of paying more for anything BUT I accept that the facilities which I use need to be paid for. IF they stick £2 on each ferry crossing then repeating my holiday would cost me £10 more. If they charge £2 for each Elsan empty then my holiday would probably cost £20-30 more (I didn't count my usage: sometimes I would empty when we arrived in the evening and then again before catching the ferry in the morning.)

The financial aspect is almost secondary, if you are concerned about principles.
But I recall that the only "paid for" point was £3 at the Council depot just outside Tarbert.
If the "MH tax" was £10 per crossing then I possibly would never go back.

Gordon
 

barryd

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I can appreciate your point of view and I can understand your desire to fight against discrimination.
However, I can also be pragmatic.

I was very impressed with the provision of Elsan points, all clearly marked on a map provided by the Hebridean Council along with other information regarding motorhomes and campervans. All bar one of these points were free to use.
WHO is going to use them, other than MHers?

John Smith sleeping on a mattress in the back of his estate car is unlikely to have a cassette toilet fitted; he probably will not even have a small PortaPotti. HE will use public loos or go in the dunes/heather etc (not a lot of hedges up there). But he will be very hard to identify and looking for him would not be economically viable (prosecuting if caught red (brown?) handed should be a different matter).

WE will all be grateful for these facilities and most will pay for an opportunity to dispose of their waste in a responsible manner.
BUT some will not pay: THEY will carry out those vile acts which get us a bad name and lead to us being hated and banned.
So by keeping them "free at the point of use" it is more likely that health and environmental aspects will be considered IMO.

And if that means that all motorhomers have to pay a couple of pounds extra per crossing then I can live with it.

(The motorhomers who ought to object the most are those who are going to book onto campsites: they will not use these free Elsan points ;) )

They say there is no such thing as a free lunch: perhaps there's no such thing as a free sh*t!

Gordon

I agree. Put in as many water and waste points as possible and make them free or perhaps a donation. I would happily pay a tax for that because you are quite right. The lowlifes if they have to pay just wont bother and dump their waste wherever and the next thing is we all get banned.

Personally I wouldnt mind if they did away with the Equivalent road fund tariff on many of the routes or just made it available for residents. I can remember paying £160+ for some islands (mainly Arran) and I can also remember that when they dropped right down thats when the grumbling started. I would rather that happened than blanket bans on wilding or Cal Mac messages popping up when you book for places like Mull saying you should make sure you have a site booked (not enforceable I dont think) but that whole attitude put me off so I didnt bother going. Well that and the fact they wouldnt let me join their Facebook group. :D
 

Fisherman

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Wouldn't mind a quid for every album/record they sold though.... ;-)
1632667055855.jpeg
 

Norfolk NewBoy

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The financial aspect is almost secondary, if you are concerned about principles.
But I recall that the only "paid for" point was £3 at the Council depot just outside Tarbert.
If the "MH tax" was £10 per crossing then I possibly would never go back.

Gordon

Not long after writing this I realised that I'm "happy" :rolleyes: to pay Brittany Ferries almost £1000 for a month of wild camping in Spain.
To quote Fagin in Oliver! "perhaps I'd better think it out again".

Gordon
 

MikeBBB

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I fully expect to find ‘free ‘camping’ in vehicles’ essentially either banned or at least almost impossible, in OH, within the foreseeable future.
 

Fisherman

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I fully expect to find ‘free ‘camping’ in vehicles’ essentially either banned or at least almost impossible, in OH, within the foreseeable future.
And would this be desirable.
There are already restrictions on Tiree, but I reckon they are sensible.
 

Fisherman

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Can I just say that if this is discrimination then it’s not just against Uk motorhomers and motor caravanners but all the potential European visitors that we could have.
That’s a good point.
I first visited the Uists in the 70s, and I have visited most of the OH.
But never in a Motorhome.
I found the locals warm friendly, and welcoming.
I am astounded at some of the reports I have read, and comments made on FB.
Its as if these fine people have changed beyond all recognition.
And if that’s the case it’s extremely sad.
 

Rolyan57

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If the proposed tax is used to subsidise the provision and maintenance of Elsan points and water supplies, then I’m all for it. I think it’s morally and ecologically beneficial, and will benefit us in the long term.

Re CalMac, I’ve missed that. What’s the actual rule now? Can I queue if I’ve prebooked?
 

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