Ok, here’s the response.

Posted by @ 11:59 pm on Saturday 17th May, 2008.

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.

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4 Responses to “Ok, here’s the response.”

  1. AFAIR cos it is too late in the day to look it up, but the CRoW allows local authorities to make provisions for local amendments. Therefore the statement that new primary legislation would be needed is incorrect.

    But I could be wrong, as I'm just working off the top of my head and don't have a paid (by the public) team of researchers to look into the matter before replying to a citizen of the United Kingdom.

    Someone look it up and prove me wrong, please. I'm tired of hearing the England is different from Scotland, so the legislation is different. Of course, we were a colony and not the centre of the Empire, so our legal system was not based on Roman Law, but ffs, if you prick a Scottish farmer, does he not bleed? Is he not a man, like your Englisher farmers? Do they not receive similar subsidies from Brussels, and have foot and mouth and blue-tongue like their brothers south of the Border? Surely these slurs rely on the misguided attitudes of the past (insert youtube link of Harry Lauder), or a 2nd rate comment from a red-top newspaper, not from educated politicians who represent the citizenry of England.

    Exits to the rising strains of "Land of Hope and Glory"....

  2. BG! says:

    [quote comment="3143"]... but the CRoW allows local authorities to make provisions for local amendments...[/quote]
    Isn't that what “Regulations may amend paragraphs 1 and 2.” means?

    Anyway, you're right, we are the same. Theoretically we live in a United Kingdom, but this disparity of laws is another example of how our (mostly) elected leaders are happy to drive in wedges to keep it divided.

  3. Metric Kate says:

    We may theoretically live in a United Kingdom, but Mr Shaw seems to think that consists of England and Scotland. So I don't actually live in the UK? Whilst I might like to think that this means Wales may be willing to be more open-minded about access and wild-camping, the most likely explanation is probably that along with his responsibilities for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs, Mr Shaw is also Minister for the South East.

  4. BG! says:

    Kate, I suggest that you write to Mr Shaw and give him a piece of your mind. Be fair, though, and only give him a small piece... the size of Wales, maybe?

    If you want to start a petition to make basic Home Nations Geography GCSE compulsory for all, I'll vote for it.

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