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Calls come from MP for NC500 Ltd to contribute to local roads and toilets

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has written a letter to NC500 Limited, proposing that Nc500 Limited - the company that markets the popular North Coast tourist route - to contribute to local infrastructure upgrades.

Calls have come from a Highland MP for NC500 Limited – the company that markets the popular North Coast tourist route – to contribute to local infrastructure upgrades.

According to NC500 Ltd, over the past six years the popular tourist route has amassed a global audience of more than 11.2 billion people.

As a result, residents living on the route have relayed copious concerns about the ever-growing traffic on the route – which they say isn’t designed for the both the amount of motorists and the different types of vehicles that the single track roads bare.

Now, Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross has written a letter to NC500 Ltd, proposing that those promoting the route pay a financial contribution to help fund road repairs, public toilets and waste disposal facilities.

Busy scenes along the route of the North Coast 500, which has been very busy recently as lockdown has eased and more people are taking staycations. Some locals are not happy with the influx, while other are seeing its benefits.

After speaking to residents along with route – many of whom work in the tourism sector, the MP found that “the prevailing message was clear: our local infrastructure is failing under increasingly acute pressure from NC500 tourism”.

In a survey done by the Assynt communities of Drumbeg, Nedd and Culkein Drumbeg, it was found that over 80% of respondents support efforts to control both the volume and the speed of the traffic passing through the villages.

Additionally, over 80% were in favour of further action to discourage large motorhomes from travelling on the B869 Lochinver to Unapool road.

‘Public infrastructure cannot cope’

In his letter to the marketing company, Mr Stone said that the overwhelming consensus was “symptomatic of wider local concern that roads, facilities and other public infrastructure cannot cope with the numbers of visitors being attracted to the area as a result of the NC500 Ltd’s marketing campaign.”

He also set out his views that the Highland Council should not be solely responsible for maintaining the roads and facilities that constitute the NC500, and that the limited company “has a corporate social responsibility to financially contribute towards maintenance”.

Commenting on the letter, Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat MP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, said: “NC500 Limited has a real responsibility to the communities along the North Coast who have found themselves at the centre of one of the most popular road trips in the UK.

“The Highland Council alone cannot be left to shoulder the significant costs of maintaining the tourist route.

“NC500 Limited absolutely must step forward to compensate for the additional pressure on our roads network and other public facilities. Inaction is not an option.”

NC500 Ltd has been contacted for comment.

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