The BMC is aware of the Government consultation on “Strengthening police powers to tackle unauthorised encampments” and will be submitting a formal response in due course. The deadline for submissions is 5 March 2020.
The consultation sets out the case for potentially criminalising the act of trespassing when setting up an unauthorised encampment in England and Wales, and “whether there is the appetite to broaden the existing categories of criminal trespass to cover trespassers on land who are there with the purpose of residing in their vehicle for any period, and to give police the powers to arrest offenders in situ and to seize any vehicles or other property”.
There are concerns that an unintended consequence of this consultation could be to criminalise trespass and in particular, wild van camping and wild camping. The BMC is opposed to any potential legislation that seeks to do this and any regulations that may affect the freedom to access our crags, mountains and wider countryside.
The BMC is currently taking legal advice on the potential implications of the proposals and is discussing the consultation with our specialist Access Management Group. Once these have been completed, will then post a further article shortly outlining a number of points that can be made if you wish to respond to the consultation separately.
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