Scottish farmers and land managers will benefit from staycations while curbing 'dirty camping' if permitted development rights are extended, groups say.
Rural business group Scottish Land & Estates (SLE) and NFU Scotland have wrote to John McNairney, the Scottish government's chief planner, calling for a PDR extension.
The two organisations have called for Scotland to follow England and Wales and extend permitted development rights to 56 days until the end of the year.
This, they say, would give greater security to land businesses and farms who are diversifying to get through difficult economic times.
It would also help farmers and land managers combat 'dirty camping', a term which describes the behaviour of a small number of campers who fail to adhere to the Scottish Outdoor Access Code.
Planning controls in England and Wales have already been relaxed in response to the coronavirus lockdown.
This means a policy of non-enforcement is now in place towards farmers using land for non-agriculture purposes for more than the statutory 28 days.
Gavin Mowat, SLE policy adviser said: “Dirty camping is more than just an eyesore. It can have serious social, economic and environmental implications.
“During the pandemic farmers have been able to ameliorate the impacts of dirty camping by setting aside parts of their holdings to allow for visitors to camp safely and in a way that respects nature.
“In doing so they have provided a service for those looking to take a staycation and brought in much needed capital to the rural economy."
Mr Mowat said that by extending permitted development rights to 56 days until the end of the year, the government could offer 'much needed certainty and security'.
"Without this extension, there is a concern that the policy of non-enforcement could end abruptly and have serious repercussions for our members ability to plan for a busy summer period.”