For those following the campaign’s progress the intention is to publicise the E-Petition to those attending the NEC Outdoors Show this weekend via friendly trade stands and what ever other legitimate avenues are made available during the show. Here’s the Press Release:
THE WILDCAMPING E-PETITION
UK Wild Campers - Stand Up and Be Counted!
At the end of Jan ‘08 UK Outdoors Blogger ‘Weird Darren’ (aka Darren Christie) sponsored an E-Petition on the 10 Downing Street website. This service allows any UK citizen to create a petition and collect signatures via the government website
Darren’s blog specialises in walking, backpacking and wildcamping. During research he realised that recent changes in Scottish legislation [Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003] provided key privileges to those wishing to camp amongst the Scottish hills and glens. However the same statutory rights were not available to those following a similar activity in England & Wales.
As a result he submitted a petition http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/wildcamp/#detail
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to legalise wild camping in England and Wales.
Currently without the landowners consent 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”
Darren is one of the founder members of the UK Outdoor Bloggers (UKOB) an informal organisation of 50+ like minded outdoor Bloggers who formed in March ‘06 to exchange outdoor walking/backpacking information and provide mutual assistance to improve their chosen medium.
Many UKOBers offered their support to publicise the E-Petition via their blogs and UK based outdoor forums.
The result is a spirited on-line debate discussing the issues, and along the way coming to consensus on the “legal” v non “legal” status of wild camping, and indeed what the term ‘Wild Camping’ actually means.
Since then there have been numerous initiatives involving the outdoor community, the public, and constituent’s MPs including Lord Chris Smith [ex President of the Ramblers’ Association and driving force behind the Countryside Rights of Way Act (CROW)]
It’s fair to say that the issues raised by this petition have resulted in a range of mixed emotions and responses. From “Don’t publicise it - keep it quiet” to many with serious concerns about their continuation of the enjoyment that wildcamping has brought to them, over many scores of years
Those supporting the petition recognise that at this stage legislative change is most unlikely. The focus is to encourage those interested in challenging the present situation to show their supporting by VOTING on-line for the E-Petition
This is a chance to debate and define what is fair access to open countryside to allow wild camping. The petition isn’t asking to allow people to camp in lay-bys, cornfields or your garden! It’s asking for the assumption that if you follow guidelines, you have permission to be there. Break those rules, then you are not
Wild Camping, and open to prosecution.
A summary of the campaign’s aims:
1. To start a ‘Wild Camping is illegal’ debate in public
2. To identify the Pros and Cons of the key issues concerned
3. To ensure the E-Petition receives maximum support in terms of Voting Nos. and agitation via other relevant sources
4. To understand what is required to proceed beyond the closure of the E-Petition on 24/5/08
All this assumes support from national outdoor organisations & factual evidence so the case can argue itself as a priority.
As part of this campaign a Campaign website has been created to offer advice on some of the recurrent questions & to keep supporters informed on latest news.
A5 flyers to publicise the Wild Camping E-Petition will be circulated at the March 08 NEC Outdoors Show as our initiative to publicise the campaign to show attendees, the majority of which may not yet be aware of the issues concerned.
For further information please contact:
Darren Christie E:MAIL: darren @bagend.org.uk
John Hee E:MAIL: johnheewalk @yahoo.co.uk
Posted on: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm
Bloggersphere, Discussion, News.
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