Plans to change trespass rules could erode access to the countryside
The Ramblers is deeply concerned by government proposals to change trespass rules, which have been subject to a Home Office consultation. The current proposals could result in an erosion of people’s rights to access the countryside, particularly in the context of the Conservative Party manifesto commitment to make intentional trespass a criminal offence. This needs an urgent rethink.
The Ramblers is committed to enabling more people to enjoy the benefits of nature and the outdoors. We believe that government’s priority should be to make it easier for people to get outside, enjoy the benefits of walking and connect to the natural environment. Promoting access to the outdoors is a critical part of our response to the climate emergency, poor air quality, high levels of obesity and physical inactivity, and the mental health crisis.
The Ramblers has responded to the Home Office consultation to set out our position:
We are calling on the Home Office to provide: 1) urgent clarification on the governments long-term plans around the criminalisation of trespass, and; 2) public commitment not to introduce measures that would limit people’s access to and enjoyment of the outdoors, and to working with organisations such as ours to ensure this is not the case.
In January 2021, the Ramblers joined a group of campaigners in reiterating their concerns through a joint letter to the Home Office, Ministry of Justice and Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs. A copy of the letter can be found here.
* In November 2019, the Home Office announced a consultation about strengthening police powers to deal with unauthorised encampments. The Conservative party manifesto, published ahead of the 2019 UK general election, reiterated this commitment - but, it went further and committed to making intentional trespass a criminal offence. The Manifesto did not provide detail on what this would mean or under