Calls for Overnight ‘Aires’ in the UK for Motorhomes
Camptoo supports Campra aims to provide overnight parking & facilities in the UK for leisure vehicles.
Ed Bassett, UK Country Manager at Camptoo: “As a provider of campervans, motorhomes, and touring vehicles for short-term let, Camptoo has facilitated over 7,500 trips in the UK since 2017, and as well as the increasingly popular ownership and vacation market, we fully recognise the increasing importance of van life living,” says Ed.
“We therefore support the notion that local councils in the UK should do more to support this way of travel by providing short-term overnight parking and facilities for leisure vehicles, enabling more people to experience van life.
“There is a lot of confusion about what is and is not permissible in terms of the rules around over-night stays in public car parks, laybys and service stations, for example. Many local councils, par-ticularly in England, are clamping down on overnight stays in previously acceptable locations at service stations, woodlands, and other public spaces. This effectively means that campsites are the only the authorised places to park up and stay overnight.
“The Campaign for Real Aires UK (Campra) is leading a campaign for the creation of more open spaces in the UK, known as ‘Aires,’ specifically for self-contained motorhomes and campervans. Other European countries, including France, Germany, and The Netherlands, already provide similar facilities for leisure vehicles to enable a safer and more comfortable journey – offering se-cure overnight parking spaces, fresh-water access, and toilet facilities.
“Campra believes that the provision of Aires in the UK will encourage more spending in local economies as visitor numbers will increase – both from Brits staycationing and foreign tourists touring the UK. A recent survey by Campra found the potential revenue to be £857 million annual-ly from spending in a local area where an Aire is available.
“The creation of Aires is a complex issue and encompasses government, local authorities, the caravan and motoring industry, and campsite providers. At Camptoo, we support Campra aims and believe campervan users should be provided with Aires as an additional accommodation op-tion, alongside traditional campsites, that suit the needs of those travelling on-the-go.
“We are not encouraging people to head to an Aire and set up camp for a long period of time. Ra-ther, we support the creation of short-term overnight parking facilities, paid for by the van user or owner. This would be beneficial to those that want to keep travelling consistently, rather than those looking to stay put on campsites – which is often several days or weeks.
“As a paid-for service that is properly regulated and managed by local councils, Aires would avoid dangerous and/or illegal parking practices, help to prevent congestion and queues into popular areas, and free up space at campsites during peak season. It gives the campervan user more freedom to travel around as well. To prevent longer stays, we would suggest putting a 2-night lim-it in place at Aires to ensure users continue their journeys onwards.
“Covid has left lasting implications on the international travel industry, and we do think it likely that staycations and domestic travel will only increase in popularity for many years to come, if not indefinitely.
“We therefore encourage local councils and the government to embrace the necessity of Aires to provide better facilities for those on the move and encourage more investment into local econo-mies. Aires should be viewed as an additional accommodation option to the longer stay campsites and will help enable the whole UK travel and camping sector to flourish.”
Steve Haywood from Campra: “Local authorities are exempt from requiring a site license to allow overnight parking and sleeping for self-contained motorcaravans, but it would be easy to provide facilities close to towns to better support local businesses.
“Aires are common all over Europe, but the UK is only just starting to realise the value of this rap-idly-growing sector. There are currently over 389,000 registered motorcaravans in the UK, many who tour all year round who simply require a safe place to park and somewhere to empty waste every few days.
“Small businesses and visitor attractions can apply for a 5-van exemption certificate, which allows them to operate as an Aire or campsite. Embracing our touring motorcaravans instead of banning them is the way forward for sustainable tourism, and we welcome support from leading rental firms like Camptoo.”
Notes to Editors:
Camptoo’s UK Country Manager, Ed Bassett, is available for interview or comment upon request.
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Launched in the Netherlands in 2014, Camptoo is a sharing economy platform that connects the owners and renters of campervans, motorhomes and touring caravans. The company was recently ranked the #1 fastest-growing travel company in Europe by Financial Times (FT1000, 2020).
Since it was launched, Camptoo users have booked over 300,000 nights in vehicles rented through the site. Owners can generate income from their campervan when it’s not being used while renters have greater flexibility when booking their vehicle so that it best suits their needs.
There are over 900 vehicles listed in the UK, with over 3,500 vehicles to choose from across Europe, and a further 400 across Australia, with more being added every week. Vehicles are properly insured to allow both owner as well as renter a carefree holiday, with Camptoo providing all the necessary paperwork, checklists and roadside assistance. For more information, visit www.camptoo.co.uk.