I don’t know if I mentioned on these forums before. But after emailing the RSPB in 2017 an RSPB member of staff replied to my question that the RSPB are planning within 5 years from 2017, the RSPB are planning to introduce membership cards that will be scanned at reserves with an admission charge or car park charge for non member similar to what the Wildfowl Trust have been doing for many years and the National Trust have started doing in 2017. I think it’s a very good idea.
A good idea, the National Trust card has been operational for a while, and quite successful from my perspective.
However, five years is a long time and with the proposed car park charges at South Stack becoming operational at some point, then it will be too late in my opinion.
Unless, as the National Trust did, and still do, provide a car sticker for members to display in their vehicles allowing them free parking in chargeable car parks where the card scan method is not available..
When used in a carpark, it's not really about ensuring everyone's paid for a ticket, it's about collecting data. After all, you can ask non-members to buy a carpark ticket and members to put their membership card in the windscreen (eg Titchwell), which is just as easy and technically saves a few pennies in paper. However reserves (and buildings in the case of NT) don't necessarily get accurate data on the number of member/non-member visitors that way - and visitor numbers helps drive budgets and investment.
You're never going to stop people determined to access a nature reserve without paying an entrance fee. There will always be people who see no problem in diddling a charity out of funds (sad to say)
The National Trust have scanning of entrance charges by staff at gardens and buildings and members have to scan there membershio cards at national trust car park ticket machines at mainly open coast and countryside properties. There where 4 of us car sharing to a local national trust coastal property recently and i was able to get this young lady free parking by scanning my National Trust membership card at the ticket machine to get free parking and it works very well.
They don't use the cards for carparks at WWT sites though, only for access to their sites and these are fully enclosed. They were talking of doing photo cards which would be an even better idea for all - would save a lot on people lending their cards out. The problem with many RSPB reserves is that there is often access to the reserve without going through the main entrance and the locals / regular visitors know that and avoid any entrance fee or membership. That includes some of the prime reserves like Leighton Moss.
The Wildfowl Trust have had scanning of membership cards for a very long time, ages before the National Trust, as I’m a member of both the Wildfowl Trust and the National Trust as well as the RSPB.
That means new plastic cards like NT, with a readable code on the back, but in principle I think it a good idea.
A good idea in my opinion
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