Archive for the 'Wildcamping e-petition' Category

If it ain’t broke…

Posted by on June 24th 2008 in A bit of a rant, Wildcamping e-petition

The wildcamping campaign's back in the limelight, and so are some of the old chestnuts...

Time and again we read things like "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", generally followed by something like "legalising it would only give license to the chavs/New Age travellers/vagrants to exercise their rights, causing disruption and spoiling it for everyone", and "lay-by campers leave piles of beercans/rubbish/excrement all over the place, it's a mess".

Can people not see that the the spoiling chavs/New Age travellers/vagrants/lay-by campers get away with it, and get wildcampers a bad press, BECAUSE it's broken?

Define wildcamping and support it with the law, then enforce the law. With such a definition, chavs/New Age travellers/vagrants/lay-by campers wouldn't fit into it, therefore the powers that be can discriminate according to the law.

How simple is that? It's hardly rocket-science, is it?

Response analysis

Posted by on June 23rd 2008 in In the News, Rambling on..., Wildcamping e-petition

I just thought that I would take this opportunity to explore further the e-petition reply, adding in a few observations where appropriate:

This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping in England and its attractiveness to campers who already have the opportunity to camp in the wild in Scotland.

Whoever composed this reply should realise that wildcamping in England does not have "potential" benefits. It has "actual" benefits. The benefits to the practitioner are obvious - exercise for the body and mind, freedom from the rat-race, the opportunity to prove oneself self-reliant and capable of making the right decision come what may. But there are also benefits to the local economy in the form of cash for purchases made, car-parking fees, local transport fares, even free advertising for the area in the form of online trip-reports and personal recommendations of places to visit (or to avoid).

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows for wild camping, but the land issues and the legislation in England are somewhat different. The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change.

We've not been campaigning for the "introduction" of wildcamping, we've been campaigning for it to be supported in law. Wildcamping has been going on in England for hundreds of years. It's a bit late to talk about introducing it as if it's something new. Anybody who has access to the internet could have figured that out within seconds.

On open access land wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Therefore, new Regulations would be required to exclude wild camping as a restricted activity. Any change to the current rules on wild camping in National Parks and Ministry of Defence land would require new primary legislation.

That last sentence isn't entirely true, as I said in my previous post. Wildcamping in all National Parks could be allowed by the National Parks Authorities, or permitted by bye-law, over-riding the prohibitions set in Schedule 2 of the CRoW Act, as currently happens in the Lake District National Park and on Dartmoor. No "new primary legislation" would be required for this. The law already supports such matters, but the CRoW Act could be clarified to make this more obvious, especially to the NPAs.

The Government has no plans to allocate the necessary resources to consider proposals for such legislation at present, and is concentrating on following up the successful introduction of 750,000 hectares of open access land with new legislation on access to the coast in the Marine Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Sounds good, but think again - wildcamping on those 750,000 hectares still isn't allowed, unless they're in Scotland, the Lakes or Dartmoor. Indeed, wildcamping on the coastal access land will probably be formally prohibited by the CRoW Act when the Marine Bill is passed, instead of just being an act of trespass as it is now. In short, that last paragraph says "look, we're about to make matters even worse for you". That said, I'm bemused by the concept of "introducing" land. Who or what is the land being introduced to? Or is the land new, perhaps claimed from the waves?

So, are we being told that change is impossible?

No.

We're being told that change is inconvenient.

If we were terrorists / illegal immigrants / striking miners instead of campers, you can bet your bottom £Sterling that the powers that be would move heaven and hell to get new laws introduced to deal with the situation.

And as for that other country involved, the one that didn't even get a mention, don't forget that "it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?"

The Government replies!

Posted by on June 23rd 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

I've pasted this in from the e-petition reply site, where the Prime Minister's Office has responded to the wildcamping e-petition as follows:

This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping in England and its attractiveness to campers who already have the opportunity to camp in the wild in Scotland.

The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows for wild camping, but the land issues and the legislation in England are somewhat different. The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change.

On open access land wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which lists all restricted activities. Therefore, new Regulations would be required to exclude wild camping as a restricted activity. Any change to the current rules on wild camping in National Parks and Ministry of Defence land would require new primary legislation.

The Government has no plans to allocate the necessary resources to consider proposals for such legislation at present, and is concentrating on following up the successful introduction of 750,000 hectares of open access land with new legislation on access to the coast in the Marine Bill, which is currently going through Parliament.

Interesting. And not entirely factual. Wildcamping in National Parks could be allowed by the National Parks Authority, over-riding the prohibitions set in Schedule 2 of the CRoW Act, as currently happens in the Lake District National Park. No "new primary legislation" would be required for this.

Oh, and it looks like Wales still does not exist on the maps available at Westminster, as Wales is not mentioned in the response. That's a shameful omission. If I was Welsh, I would be deeply offended.

Snippets

The sun's out and the weekend looks like it might be our best chance to get out and do something worthwhile. I'll let you know if anything interesting happens. Meanwhile, here are a few BGbytes:

Long-drawn-out endings...

Days after the close of the wildcamping e-petition, the total's gone up again. It's now at 2021.

Long lines...

The kite line disaster has been addressed - we've shuffled the lines down and replenished at the top, so Anna's 1.2m now has Ella's 30m 50kg braids, Ella's 1.6m now has my repaired 30m(ish) 70kg Protecs, and my 2m Imp's standard 18m 100kg Dyneemas have been supplemented with 30m 110kg and 30m 180kg Ozone Dyneemas. Hopefully we'll get out and give our rehashed setups some test-flights in the next few days.

Long stories...

For those still interested in Zooomr, I found Zooomrwatch via my blog's visitor stats.

Long hikes...

For those interested in Iceland, the CDT, the PCT etc., I found Phlumf while following another link in my stats. There are some impressive pics in there, I recognise quite a few of the places in the Iceland photo set.

Latecomers

Posted by on May 28th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

The wildcamping e-petition total's just gone up a bit, the published count is now 2019, although the true count is 2020.

If this carries on, we might make 2500 by Christmas!

Petition closes with 2017 signatories

Posted by on May 25th 2008 in Congratulations!, Wildcamping e-petition

The final total is 2017, according to the webpage.

The petition finished 61st out of 6246 on the list of active petitions (i.e. in the top 1%) just before midnight, and currently it's 339th out of 13239 closed petitions (i.e. in the top 3%).

It's a fine tribute to all who've pushed boundaries and pulled strings to keep this thing moving. Well done, you lot!

Now... onto the next phase... watch this space.

It’s in the bag!

Posted by on May 24th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

Today's the first anniversary of the opening of the Outdoors Bloggers' Forum, and it's also the day that the wildcamping e-petition, conceived by Darren Christie (one of the Forum's more prominent bloggers) closes. It's quite fitting, then, that the petition count's just gone past the 2000 mark.

That's over 2000 souls that believe that wildcampers in England or Wales should be entitled to the same rights and protection in law as they would have if they wildcamped in Scotland.

Here's a great quote from Chris Townsend:

"And with regard to the wild camping petition I think most campaigns start small with a few idealists, who are inevitably called naive. Without such people there would be no access legislation at all, south or north of the border."

I can't thank all you people enough for supporting this cause. The least I can do is keep a record of who signed up for it. That record is here.

I'm proud of you all.

Forty-Two

Posted by on May 23rd 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

That's how many more signatures the wildcamping e-petition needs to reach the 2000 mark.

There's not much time left to get your name on the list, so if you're going to do it, now's the time.

If you've still not signed up, give it some Deep Thought...

 

deep.jpg

 

... you know it makes sense.

Ok, here’s the response.

Posted by on May 17th 2008 in In the News, Wildcamping e-petition

Shown below is the letter that Jonathan Shaw MP sent to my MP, David Tredinnick, in response to my email about the legalisation of wildcamping in England and Wales:

 

So, it's not a "yes" or a "no", more of a "not at present". Nevertheless, the wording is interesting... for starters, there's no mention of Wales, which is more than a little unfair.

For those out there who still insist that wildcamping is not against the law, how do you interpret the bit that states "Wild camping is prohibited under Schedule 2 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000"? Look, it's there, in black and white - wildcamping on CRoW Access Land is prohibited by the Act. On other land, it's Trespass if done without the permission of the landowner, and hence it's a civil offence.

I'm finding it hard to reconcile the statement "Any change to the current rules would require the introduction of new primary legislation" against the terms stated in the referenced Schedule 2 of the CRoW Act 2000. The observant among us will read Schedule 2 and note that "Regulations may amend paragraphs 1 and 2." Now this would appear to be an easier option than introducing new primary legislation, I reckon. Maybe it need not be so much of a "lengthy and resource-intensive process" as envisaged by the Minister.

Of course, all this hassle could have been avoided if wildcamping had been adequately defined in law, and then specifically permitted (or not "restricted" or "prohibited") by the Act.

Anyway, while we're on the subject of Section 2...

1: What's that in paragraph 1(a) about driving or riding vehicles? Does that not apply to mountain-bikers?

2: What's that in paragraph 1(t) about activities which are organised or undertaken ... for any commercial purpose? Does that not apply to walks led by a paid guide, or winter-skills courses, or the making of television programmes etc.?

3: I see that paragraph 1(l) prevents us from excavating cat-holes!

Hmm. I predict that I may be sending a response of my own.

p.s. e-petition count at end of the day = 1860, 7 days left, at least 140 more signatures required, that’s 20/day.

Missing word?

Posted by on May 16th 2008 in Wildcamping e-petition

Here's a quote from a popular website:

"The BMC (British Mountaineering Council) is the representative body that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers."

(source: https://www.thebmc.co.uk/)

Every time I read it, I can't help thinking to myself that they've missed out a key word, and I reckon that the key word is "some".

p.s. e-petition count at end of the day = 1843, 8 days left, at least 157 more signatures required, that’s 19.625/day.

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