New Criminal Trespass Laws for England

Inland paddling
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Juan Verde
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Joined: Wed Jan 15, 2020 5:00 pm

New Criminal Trespass Laws for England

Post by Juan Verde »


I hope this posting is in the right place. Pleaase accept my apologies if not.

As a consequence of the Conservatives winning the 2019 General Election, they are now implementing one of their manifesto promises, specifically;

"We will give the police new powers to arrest and seize the property and vehicles of trespassers who set up unauthorised encampments, in order to protect our communities. We will make intentional trespass a criminal offence, "

Whilst this is under the guise of tackling "the traveller problem", (which 75% of chief police officers believe is adequately dealt with by existing legislation), it is likely that if this legislation is passed, which doubtless it will, then English and possibly Welsh padders on unauthorised waters will now be committing a criminal offence.

You can read George Monbiot's heads up in The Guardian about the matter here

It may be that you wish to write to your MP on the matter at

If you do write to your MP about the matter, you should perhaps mention:

* Historically, trespass in England has always been a civil matter
* That you have no issue with the criminality of damage to property or persons (one assumes)
* That 75% of chief police officers believe the existing legislation to deal with travellers is fit for purpose.
* That the existing criminal trespass laws introduced by the Cameron government already protects the owners of buildings against squatters
* That in Scotland there is a right to roam and no criminal trespass laws. Why should England be any different?

[ Note about myself. I'm an ex-paddler who actually does not believe that free access for paddlers is appropriate on all English waters, just many more than at present. I do not, however, believe that trespass in England should be a criminal offence if there is no damage or harm done to property or people.]

Chris Bolton
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Re: New Criminal Trespass Laws for England

Post by Chris Bolton »

Before publication of the Conservative Manifesto, the Government started a consultation. This is nominally about trespass by travellers, but could easily be used as the basis for legislation to address the manifesto promise.

Anyone who is concerned at the effect such legislation could have for general access to the countryside, and for wild camping, please respond to the consultation. As G Monbiot has pointed out, the survey questions in the consultation are somewhat loaded, but there's also an email address you can use to respond.

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