Speed limits on Loch Lomond are set to be reduced after the park authority responsible for it recommended changes to byelaws to increase safety and address climate issues.

Six revised byelaws were agreed at a meeting of the meeting of the National Park Authority Board yesterday and will now be taken forward for Scottish Government approval.
Despite suggestion during a consultation stage that jetskis or personal water crafts should be banned, it was recommended new speed limits would be imposed which could in turn still have an impact on the use of such crafts. The aim of the changes is to stop high powered craft operating on the loch irresponsibly.

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Six key changes to the byelaws were proposed, focusing on: addressing safety concerns, protecting the environment, widening recreational participation, minimising antisocial behaviours and improving enforcement effectiveness.
Under the recommendations power-driven vessels must not travel ‘on the plane’ or exceed 11kph in existing speed limit zones, including 150 metres from shore, and must not exceed 6kph in new Low Speed Activity Zones at Balloch Castle Country Park, Duck Bay, Luss, Manse Bay, Milarrochy, Sallochy and Rowardennan.
Speed limit zones would be reduced in size and realigned so that Loch users can use the northern point at Rossdhu House, Inchgalbraith, Inchmoan and Ellanderoch islands as markers to better understand when to reduce speed to comply with the 11pkh speed limit zone.

The Herald: Loch Lomond is a major attraction for water sportsLoch Lomond is a major attraction for water sports (Image: Newsquest)
Other changes include those under the age of under 16 would be required to wear lifejackets when underway on a motorised or non-motorised vessel, unless they are in a cabin or other enclosed space.
Young people still have the same opportunities to take charge of powered vessels, but the owner or registered owner of the vessel would be liable for a young person committing an offence should any byelaw contraventions be recorded while a young person is in sole charge of a vessel.
It was also recommended all power-driven vessels are required to be registered for use on Loch Lomond by their owners and any individual who intends to be in charge of a powered vessel will have to register with the National Park Authority in advance.

Kenny Auld, Head of Visitor Services at Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park Authority said: "

Improving safety was the key consideration of this byelaw review, particularly in light of the significant changes we have seen in recent years in some recreation activities on Loch Lomond.

“The growing popularity of open water swimming and paddle sports, coupled with significant increases in jet-ski related byelaw breaches, led officers to consider additional measures to safeguard public safety, improve enforcement and prevent irresponsible behaviours.

“The byelaws form part of a wider combination of measures and approaches to managing and influencing behaviour and activities on the water."

The introduction of a new Loch Lomond User Registration Scheme, in addition to the registration of a vessel, means any individual using a motorised vessel must be registered with the Park Authority in advance. This is to make the identification of individuals easier in the event of a byelaw contravention.

Amending the boundary of the existing lower speed zone around Inchmoan island to be more easily identifiable for Loch users.
In a report to the board, Simon Jones, director of Environment and Visitor Services, said: “This review is also timely due to significant changes in recent years in the way that the Loch is used for recreation across a range of activities. There has been a significant increase in non-powered activities such as open water swimming and stand-up paddle boarding. 
“In the last two years there has been a marked upturn in Personal Water Craft (PWCs), commonly known as jet skis or jet bikes, using the Loch. The rapidly increasing multiple recreational uses of the Loch, while positive in terms of more people being able to access and enjoy the benefits of the water, has also increased safety risks, particularly in the most popular and accessible parts of the Loch.”
Between 2019 and 2022 there was a 31% increase in registrations of PWCs. From 2012-2022, the trend remains, the number of PWCs registered for use on Loch Lomond in 2022 was 61% higher.
The report added the number of alleged contraventions of the Loch Lomond Byelaws has significantly increased.

The Herald: Jet ski usage has increased in the past 10 yearsJet ski usage has increased in the past 10 years (Image: Newsquest)
There was a 185% increase in total alleged contraventions between 2012 and 2022. During this time, the highest number of alleged contraventions (53%) were for speeding in lower speed limit zones In recent years, the increase in overall contraventions has risen more sharply.
Between 2019 and 2022, there was 76% increase in total alleged contraventions. In this period, the highest number of alleged contraventions (46%) continued to be for speeding in lower speed limit zones.
While more people have taken to the loch for wild swimming or paddle boarding, this has also led to some negative consequences with an increase in safety risks to user groups, a marked increase in alleged byelaw contraventions, and a rise in levels of disturbance, noise and antisocial behaviour (including increasing incidents of dangerous behaviours). Many of these issues are concentrated in the most popular and accessible parts of the Loch, such as Balloch, Duck Bay and Luss heightening the concerns of local communities and some stakeholders.
The cost of the management of the Loch Lomond byelaws is in the region of £400,000 per year, covering the Loch-based Ranger Service and all supporting systems. The introduction of the byelaw changes would cost in the region of £250,000.