Couldn't see anything in it for us, it's geared towards completely different type of vehicle and duration of stay. If they want to class motorhomes as caravans then they should also include long distance truckers whose cabs are designed for living and sleeping in. One piece that did stick out was "8. The council may attach conditions to the licence, but these can only relate to
the physical use of the site and its management." If Aires are going to be classed as "campsites" then under No 8 the council can restrict the use to motorhomes and short term parking only.
We need to get a document made up that we can submit to this party whilst these changes are current. We are the unheard in the Caravan Act, I hope to get time to do put something together thast I can submit. But if anyone else wants to jump in here.....
I think, and I am not the first to suggest, we need a lobby group for NI. We have everything here on MHC, but we need bods to put it otgether and push it.
Well Ally, that went down like a lead balloon! Can’t say I am surprised though.
As I had already told you I am happy to be part of (but not lead) a group. In the meantime I am pursuing the Newry Mourne & Down council, with able assistance from Gavster, the potential for more parking in the council area. This had been put on hold during the recent elections. I have indicated to them the need to discuss the 63 caravan act and the birth and rise of motorhoming since it’s first implementation.
I think that the reason for the slow uptake is,there are so many ass holes who give no consideration for anyone other than themselves.
Now this is in no way a reason to not try and promote motorhome parking but how can you help those that cannot be helped?
I think that this piece of proposed legislation is being used as a very blunt tool.
From the outset, I struggle to keep up with Irish law and politics and it is only in recent times that I have heard about the Caravan Act in NI.
From reading the document a couple of points stood out.
They envisage that these proposals will regulate, halting sites, campsites, mobile home parks and other temporary accommodation. That 4 different types of users, with 4 different needs, all of which is now being bunched up together to create confusion with both the service providers and service users.
Fire prevention and waste water management seem to be reoccurring themes throughout the document.
The caravan clubs and travellers groups would have the strongest lobbyists.
The minimum pitch spacings and required provision of toilets and wash basins on a per capita based actually suit both groups.
The local councils have to fit proper sanitation for the travellers while the campsite owners are prohibited from overfilling their sites at busy times.
However for us motorhome and fixed mobile home parks, the minimum pitch spacing are a welcome clarification for a fire safety point of view, the provision of toilets blocks is totally unnecessary because we have these facilities on board.
From the environmental the disposal of waste water by all of the different types of facilities needed to be strengthened. Some of the mobile home parks and seasonal campsites are very rural with no public sewer connection which could cause pollution risks.
Likewise, ourselves and the caravans use the blue toilet chemical which is a harsh product to dispose safely.
I have only highlighted a couple of points in a document that covers a vast amount of details, to show how some proposals are benefiting one type of service user, but hindering another user.
Who is proposing this legislation?
Is it central Government, Westminster?
Is it The Assembly in Stromount?
Is it The state civil service?
Is it the local councils?
I only ask because, I am not familiar with the workings of NI state affairs.
My hunch is that this is being done by public officials/ civil servants.
With the Assembly gone into circus mode, there is no elected body to discuss and give amendments to the proposed changes.
Hence why, there is poor discussion here.
Just my thoughts.
I am an NI civil servant myself (different Dept though) so I may need to be careful about overtly lobbying other civil servants in case it is seen as a conflict of interest. I’m well used to see outgoing consultation documents and reading replies. This consultation will have been by civil servants (they are always the ones that produce these documents anyway) and the only real difference is that a minister has not signed off the document before it has foment out. They can put out consultations and compile responses without approval for a minister but changing the legislation without a minister is trickier for more controversial proposals. At least by carrying out the consultation they can have that element ready for an incoming minister to sign it off. If it is not too controversial a permanent secretary (head of Dept) may be content to sign it off and can take Dept legal advice on whether they can or not. I don’t see this legislation as being particularly controversial myself.
Today is the first chance I have got to read through the document. Luckily it reads in fairly plain English and like other have said it real does seem to just apply to formal campsites. I don’t think a council/Dept Infrastructure car park can be a campsite as it would have its own legislation covering it. The document outlines what a campsite is. It does not outline what is not a campsite e.g. field for a festival, a car park, school car park or playing field for use at weekends.
There seems to be plenty of wriggle room for the councils in the document where they can explain why they are not making individual licences adhere to the the exact requirements of the proposed legislation. Handy seeing as the councils will be reviewing and awarding licences to themselves seeing as many campsites are run by councils or even government depts in some cases.
If some campsites have to physically change their layout dramatically as a result of this it can only lead to costs being passed on to those staying in them which will make them even less attractive to Motorhome owners who do not need their facilities but rather just somewhere to park.
For a council or anyone else setting up an Aire it look much easier not to provide electricity, water, disposal etc seeing as everything has to be done by specifically qualified personnel and to British Standards. The 6 and 3m rules are points that at well be varied over to Aires.
This consultation already roles two previous pieces of legislation together and I think Aires and Motorhome parking would be better placed in a document if it’s own. However I can’t see it as being seen as important enough to warrant going through all of the steps of consulting and preparing legislation just for that alone as it is such a niche area while so much other legislation needs reviewed and brought up to date (think of e-bikes still being deemed to be motorbikes in NI).
We definitely should return a response but perhaps we should make contact with other Motorhome clubs in NI and combine our efforts? It could be an issue if they deem that schools need a licence to allow motorhomes or caravans to stay on site at weekends or during the summer. That would have a more immediate impact.
I would be inclined to agree with your points raised.
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