Unauthorised camping and littering in Britain's beauty spots increase as holidaymakers seek 'staycations'

  • Video report by ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi

Unauthorised camping in Britain's national parks has increased significantly this summer as more people seeking 'staycation' summer holidays are finding camping sites full.

But the National Parks Authority and the National Trust warn that they have seen a dramatic increase in discarded equipment and litter being left behind at beauty spots.

The effect is similar to that of flytipping and has now become known as 'flycamping'.

National Trust ranger teams are now finding that 20 per cent of their time is spent on clearing up after unauthorised visitors rather than focusing on vital conservation work.

National Trust Rachel Bennett says rubbish left by flycamping could harm wildlife. Credit: ITV News

Rachel Bennett, Ranger for the National Trust, said: “We would find tents, we would findsleeping bags just abandoned, chairs, broken glass.

“It can be quite disheartening when you come across rubbish that’s there that could potentially harm or damage the wildlife that lives in that area."

Of the 14 national parks that took part in a survey by ITV News and 86% said they had seen an increase in flycamping incidents.

  • Pembrokeshire Coast National Park estimated it had at least doubled this year.

  • Dartmoor National Park said there had been a dramatic increase with up to 70 tents and 50 fire pits in just one night.

  • Exmoor National Park reported up to 20 unauthorised camper vans at a time.

In the Peak District, local resident Kay Allinson has volunteered to clear up the mess including what has been called “antisocial toileting”.

“They haven’t got a toilet, and they haven’t got a trowel to bury what’s left and it’s all just there," she said. "And it’s really unpleasant for everyone else.”

Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said there was large-scale flycamping at Windermere. Credit: ITV News

In the Lake District, debris left from flycamping is becoming a concern for police.

Cumbria Police's Assistant Chief Constable Andrew Slattery said: “One area on the western side of Windermere on a car park next to the lake, there were 88 camper vans and 21 tents.

"Now that’s a big impact on that small area and obviously we’re not for certain it’s there for camping."