Author Topic: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?  (Read 2358 times)

richardh1905

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Interesting and worrying article in the Guardian about how the Government's plans to criminalise camping without permission could affect us all.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/15/tresspass-trap-law-land-travelling-people-rights
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April

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #1 on: 18:14:47, 15/01/20 »
If any new laws are introduced to curb wild camping it will be a bit like trying to police illegal hunting with dogs. Illegal hunting with dogs still continues and prosecutions even with video evidence are rare. I think most wild campers won't be caught; I can't see any landowners coming out at night scouring the Lake District fells for instance to see if anyone is wild camping. Even if a camper is caught by a land owner, are the police really going to come out to charge anyone? Are there enough police resources for them to patrol the areas people wild camp? I would say no except for problem areas near cities? Any new laws would seem to be very worrying for travellers and homeless people but not for us lot who sleep out for fun.
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Pitboot

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #2 on: 19:44:16, 15/01/20 »
"With the intent to reside."
Someone has to prove intent, and I don't think someone wild camping would fit the description.
However the point that any law would be misused or abused is valid, the police are always trying to test new laws if it's to their advantage, ie will get a conviction.
In any case it's a worrying development, we should be looking at a right to roam like in Scotland or Sweden, not restricting more liberties.

vghikers

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #3 on: 20:43:12, 15/01/20 »
Quote
I can't see any landowners coming out at night scouring the Lake District fells for instance to see if anyone is wild camping.

A few years ago I heard of one in the Clwydian hills that often did exactly that at dusk, checking for Offa's Dyke wild campers and moving them on.
Anyway it won't have an impact on us, at least in hilly or remote country, but it will make us even more cautious on low-level routes when seeking a pitch.

alan de enfield

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #4 on: 21:15:06, 20/01/20 »

In any case it's a worrying development, we should be looking at a right to roam like in Scotland or Sweden, not restricting more liberties.

The Government proposal is simply to align England & Wales with the current situation in Scotland.

Scotland has had a Trespass Act since 1865. The relevant part reads :
 
Every person who lodges in any premises, or occupies or encamps on any land, being private property, without the consent and permission of the owner or legal occupier of such premises or land, and every person who encamps or lights a fire on or near any road or enclosed or cultivated land, or in or near any plantation, without the consent and permission of the owner or legal occupier of such road, land, or plantation shall be guilty of an offence punishable as herein-after provided.

(Maximum fine currently £200)
« Last Edit: 21:37:51, 20/01/20 by alan de enfield »

richardh1905

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #5 on: 22:25:37, 20/01/20 »
Superseded by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, Alan.

With a few exceptions, wild camping is legal in Scotland.
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richardh1905

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #6 on: 22:26:33, 20/01/20 »
I wish that the Government would align with Scotland!
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alan de enfield

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #7 on: 22:55:18, 20/01/20 »
Superseded by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, Alan.

With a few exceptions, wild camping is legal in Scotland.

I did not know - thank you.

In order to try and understand this Act I have been reading thru' it but I cannot find anywhere about 'occupying or encampment of land' it is all about Access, rights of way and navigation.
The only possible section I can find which might cover 'occupying or encampment' is

Section 1 (4) (a) (i) which states : "going into, passing over and remaining on it for any of those purposes and then leaving it"


http://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2003/2/contents


The section in full :

Access rights
(1) Everyone has the statutory rights established by this Part of this Act.
(2) Those rights (in this Part of this Act called “access rights”) are—

(4)
The reference—

(a) in subsection (2)(a) above to being on land for any of the purposes set out in subsection (3) above is a reference to—
(i) going into, passing over and remaining on it for any of those purposes and then leaving it; or
(ii)any combination of those;

(b)
in subsection (2)(b) above to crossing land is a reference to going into it, passing over it and leaving it all for the purpose of getting from one place outside the land to another such place.



Do you know of any other legislation or section within the Act that actually states that occupying or encampment is allowed ?

Sorry if its a bit 'geeky' but I enjoy reading and trying to understand Acts of Parliament that can affect me.
« Last Edit: 23:37:45, 20/01/20 by alan de enfield »

barewirewalker

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #8 on: 10:08:05, 21/01/20 »
Don't Apologize, we probably need more that sort of interest on this forum and among'st walkers in general. I am firmly convinced after 15 years monitoring walking forums and spending 5 years on a Local Access Forum that the national lobby groups are failing badly on the access issue.

If we want the equivalent of the Scottish Land Reform Act more practical walkers need to show how it could benefit the country. I think that there has been a move in Wales to this effect but it may have fizzled out.

If you are serious you should try to tackle the 1949 Act. This sort of legal jargon is beyond me, my strong point has been more cutting across boundaries and coming up with new ideas, helped keep my business running for 30 years. The best tool to counter the possible spread towards Criminalizing Trespass is to fully expose the Corruption of the Definitive Map, because it is yesterday's landowners and their employees, who are guilty and it is their heirs trying to get Trespass made a criminal offense.

Somewhere in that Act or subsequent legislation there is the powers that brought about our national ways, find that and you might find a big stick, because most authorities played too safe and did not represent the best interest of the people the act intended to get a proper share of our countryside.

The County Council Local Access Forum I was on changed it's name to The Great Outdoors Strategy Group, I am trying to find out if they are living up the grand title they have awarded themselves.
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alan de enfield

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #9 on: 15:56:11, 21/01/20 »
Don't Apologize, we probably need more that sort of interest on this forum and among'st walkers in general.

I have been reading further into the two acts :

Land Reform Act 2003 &
Trespass Act 1865

Following the introduction of the 2003 Act, the Trespass Act was amended in 2005 to include a subsection 2,
Section 1 & new section 2 :

Parties lodging in premises or encamping on land, without permission, guilty of an offence.

Section (1)

Every person who lodges in any premises, or occupies or encamps on any land, being private property, without the consent and permission of the owner or legal occupier of such premises or land, and every person who encamps or lights a fire on or near any road or enclosed or cultivated land, or in or near any plantation, without the consent and permission of the owner or legal occupier of such road, land, or plantation shall be guilty of an offence punishable as herein-after provided.

Section (2)
Subsection (1) above does not extend to anything done by a person in the exercise of the access rights created by the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (asp 2).]

Suggesting that the 2003 Act does not over ride the 1865 Act but runs 'alongside'.

If all of the 2003 requirements are met, then Section 1 of the 1865 Act is not applied - however the 2003 Act does require 'you' to "act responsibly and comply with the access code".

There is no mention (that I can find) of 'encampment' or allowing 'wild camping' in the 2003 Act and I suspect that it has actually made no difference to the legal aspect of camping without permission.

I would suggest that it has become just "custom & practice" never having been formally agreed (or allowed) but a blind-eye turned.
Scotland seems far and away in advance of England when looking at freedom to roam.

If you feel so inclined, I'd be interested to hear if you think there is something specific in the 2003 Act that allows / condones / authorises wild camping without the land owners permission.

April

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #10 on: 16:40:28, 21/01/20 »
Camping on unenclosed land is legal in Scotland, except for a few areas as Richard mentions, such as Loch Lomond where there are restrictions in place.

Edited to add this link
https://mpora.com/camping/wild-camping-in-scotland/
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ninthace

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #11 on: 16:50:32, 21/01/20 »
Had to smile at the original article - the leading picture looks to be a PROW on Exmoor and is almost certainly CROW Act land.  Not exactly trespass country.
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pleb

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #12 on: 16:29:44, 23/01/20 »
Technically the Queen owns all the UK, in fact the Commonwealth.
If she says get your tent off my land, you get!  ;D

barewirewalker

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #13 on: 10:57:26, 25/01/20 »
Technically the Queen owns all the UK, in fact the Commonwealth.
If she says get your tent off my land, you get!  ;D
She could also say, "Oh selfish and faithless freeholder, why do you not let my people cross your land and enjoy my countryside."  :2funny:
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Yorci

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Re: Trespass to become a criminal offence in England?
« Reply #14 on: 23:17:44, 25/01/20 »
"With the intent to reside."
Someone has to prove intent, and I don't think someone wild camping would fit the description.
However the point that any law would be misused or abused is valid, the police are always trying to test new laws if it's to their advantage, ie will get a conviction.
In any case it's a worrying development, we should be looking at a right to roam like in Scotland or Sweden, not restricting more liberties.
The police are often very weary of employing or challenging people with new laws, particularly if they are not familiar with the new legislation or what powers come with that legislation. They often wait for the results of any test cases before jumping in.
Unless the land owner has called the police, it is highly unlikely that the police will challenge wild campers unless they are clearly visible, causing an annoyance to passersby or have caused damage to the countryside. They struggle to deal with heritage crimes, fly tippers and other rural crimes which have a much higher priority. Personally I always try to get permission from the land owner. Last summer I camped out at Angle Tarn without any problems, the estate manager was happy, I just had to say when I was visiting and gave them my details.
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