Many of the UK’s motorhome and campervan owners will now have heard of CAMpRA – The Campaign for Real Aires in the UK (an Aire is the common term used to describe simple overnight stops for a self-contained motorhome or campervan), but what has CAMpRA achieved?
From one man’s vision – founder Donald Macdonald had the idea whilst mowing his lawn – the campaign group has grown to over 30,000 members in just over 2 years.
Brexit has provided the perfect platform to promote the benefits recognised for many years in mainland Europe to be implemented in the UK.
CAMpRA’s ethos is simple – no petitions, no complaints, no confrontation, they just explain to businesses and authorities what the benefits are to towns and local businesses by embracing, and not banning, touring motorhomes, especially important following Covid, and now with higher inflation and unprecedented increases in energy bills threatening many businesses in the UK.
So why now?
Restrictions to travel in Europe (90 day limits) as a result of Brexit mean that the majority of UK motorhome owners now spend a minimum of 6 months per year in the UK. 6 month trips touring Europe are no longer possible, with CAMpRA’s motorhome survey indicating that 82% of UK motorhomes tour all year round this is worth an estimated £1 billion per year to local shops and restaurants.
How are CAMpRA helping businesses ?
•By providing support to our members to promote the benefits and approach potential sites.
•Supported by MotorhomeFun, CAMpRA assists small businesses to obtain a site licence to operate as a year-round 5 van Aire – over 100 new Aires opened so far with CAMpRA assistance.
• The CAMpRA website document library has become the leading source of information on providing Aires in the UK with an excellent business hub that takes you step by step through the process of considering and operating an Aire.
• Working with local authorities – CAMpRA is engaged with several councils and have worked with Cumbria on the motorhome coastal route, Durham on overnight parking at the Belmont Park & Ride, Gwynedd on their proposal to open 5 Aires, Conwy with their new motorhome survey and consultation, South Hams on their successful trial of 5 overnight sites, Northumberland with setting up trials on 3 sites, Falmouth Council, the National Trust with establishing a team to look at overnight parking and operating three trial sites (CAMpRA National Trust survey indicates a potential £16 million per year from new membership alone if they allow overnight stays).
• Ongoing work in partnership with Dumfries & Galloway, and Argyll & Bute councils
• Supported by the British Parking Association with meetings, articles in their members’ magazine and CAMpRA documents in their members’ library.
• Supported by the National Caravan Council who recognise the continued erosion of touring pitches in the UK and the need for simple Aires with articles in their member magazines.
• Commissioned a motorhome fire safety report, produced by industry experts, that has been provided to several councils for guidance on spacing for Aires (not campsites).
• Waste point fund from donations by members to help fund the provision of waste points in the UK (drinking water tap and toilet cassette emptying point (required every 3 to 4 days), these are used in some areas to help finance the running of public toilets as an option to closing the toilets due to lack of funds.
• CAMpRA shop to provide merchandise for members and signs for new Aires.
If you are interested in getting involved look for local businesses or visitor attractions who would benefit from year-round tourism.
CAMpRA is working to get councils and governments to recognise that a self-contained motorhome is different from a touring caravan, and with the rapid increase in touring motorhomes and campervans there is an urgent need to update our campsite legislation to provide for the provision of Aires in the UK.
In Europe sleeping in a motorhome is classed as parking not camping, but there is no clear distinction in the UK therefore planning authorities will class sleeping in a vehicle designed for human habitation as camping).
You can join CAMpRA free from our Facebook group or website www.campra.org.uk and help us all to promote the benefits by embracing motorhomes and not spending thousands on barriers and enforcement when all we need is a safe place to park to allow us to visit and support local businesses.