Monday, June 23

Wildcamp E-Petition - Government Response

23 June 2008/We received a petition asking:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to legalise wild camping in England and Wales."


Details of Petition:
"Currently without the landowners concent it is illegal to wild camp on the moors, mountains, National Parks and MOD land. It is time to give people the same rights as those given North of the Border in Scotland to allow them to wild camp in these places without threat of legal action."


The Government's response
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.

Link here

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Comments:
While I'm a "yank", half of my immediate family is English and so I'm following this issue with no small interest because we'd like to backpack with them in the UK. You might be able to achieve better results with a more specific proposal something along the lines of the rules used in the US for "national scenic trails" like the AT, PCT, or Pinhoti trail. Basically if you are hiking on the trail you can camp overnight along the trail with very few restrictions. (have to be away from houses etc and using the regular sites is appreciated). You have to be backpacking and you can't long-term camp. This avoids the gypsy or traveler problem which would annoy any landowner. Some of the trails here use a permitting system - if you have a permit (easy to get) then you can camp. If you don't, you can't.
 
All good thoughts Robert - all options are in as we consider what the next steps are
 
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