Statement on criminal trespass

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We deal with almost 1000 cases a year assisting communities, groups and individuals in protecting their local spaces and paths in all parts of England and Wales. Can you help us by joining as a member?

We have joined with eight other organisations in a letter to the Home Secretary, condemning plans to make trespass a criminal offence.  Our letter comes ahead of the publication of the government’s Police Powers and Protections Bill which will enact the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to ‘make intentional trespass a criminal offence’.

Walkers in Otley, West Yorkshire

The society has expressed its concerns previously about these proposals.

Although the bill may ostensibly be limited to unauthorised encampments, the society remains deeply worried that the measures will send a signal that the countryside is not open to all.  They will shake people’s confidence and will encourage landowners to try to keep people out.

Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘It is vital that government encourages people to get out in the fresh air, for their health and well-being.  It should be working to improve and increase public access.  The plan to criminalise trespass will do precisely the opposite.  The society will study the draft Bill and will campaign with others against any provisions which threaten people’s rights and freedoms.’

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