Popular UK areas ‘overwhelmed’ by motorhome parking – calls for better conditions

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Motorhome and campervan owners have been calling for improved facilities for years, with many more supporting the calls after going on staycations this past year. Most motorcaravans are self-sufficient and do not require campsite facilities like chairs, tables and awnings.

Because of this, the Campaign for Real Aires (CAMpRA) has launched a funding initiative to provide a network of places where motorhome staycationers are able to empty out water and toilet waste.

So far, more than £12,000 has been raised by campaign members and supporters.

They are also wanting more aires to be developed across the UK, which are safe overnight parking areas for motorcaravans only.

They are incredibly popular in Europe, with most having waste points and fresh water.

Aires are not bookable in advance and are usually close to town centres – unlike campsites.

They can be designated parking bays ranging from local authority or private car parks, to sports clubs and village halls, as well as visitor attractions and supermarkets.

Steve Haywood, managing director of CAMpRA, said investment into aires will have far-reaching benefits.

He said: “This is an area that will not only benefit all of us but will help reassure local communities we are not emptying our toilets in the ditch, dunes or sea or anywhere else that we shouldn’t.

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“By looking at attaching waste points to public toilets, where for a small fee, toilet cassettes can be emptied, we are supporting local communities. 

“CAMpRA is advising councils of the desirability of installing a central waste point to service several overnight parking areas.

“Since it was founded in 2020, 115 aires have opened in the UK with a number of others in the pipeline.”

CAMpRA are expecting a further 50 more aires to be opened in the next year.

Motorhome, campervan and caravan owners all contribute greatly to local economies when they visit an area by spending money on services like pubs, restaurants and supermarkets.

According to CAMpRA, the average spend by motorcaravanners using aires is £47 per day.

The total worth of motorhome tourism is believed to be worth over £1billion to the UK economy.

Mr Haywood continued, saying: “Many more popular areas are now getting overwhelmed due to social media coverage and the expanding number of motorcaravans in the UK.

“Communities who tolerated a few motorcaravans are now complaining about the numbers and lack of facilities, and we are seeing more no overnight parking signs.

“For many years European countries have seen the financial benefits of providing facilities.

“Our aim is to support and encourage the establishment of more and more aires.” 

In 2020 there were over two million motorcaravans in Europe, with nearly 400,000 owners in UK alone – the number steadily rising partly due to Covid travel restrictions.

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