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.