Monday, 25 February 2008

ePetition: Scotland

As the world and it's MPs all seem to think that we in Scotland are a special case, here's what the fuss is all about - the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (PDF link):

Responsible behaviour by the public

Access rights extend to wild camping. This type of camping is lightweight, done in small numbers and only for two or three nights in any one place. You can camp in this way wherever access rights apply but help to avoid causing problems for local people and land managers by not camping in enclosed fields of crops or farm animals and by keeping well away from buildings, roads or historic structures. Take extra care to avoid disturbing deer stalking or grouse shooting. If you wish to camp close to a house or building, seek the owner’s permission.

Leave no trace by:

  • taking away all your litter;
  • removing all traces of your tent pitch and of any open fire (follow the guidance for lighting fires);
  • not causing any pollution

Responsible behaviour by land managers

If you are experiencing large numbers of roadside campers or have well-used wild camping areas, you could work with your local authority and with recreational bodies to assist the management of such camping.

Where and when you can exercise access rights
2.2 Everyone, whatever their age or ability, can exercise access rights over most land and inland water in Scotland, at any time of day or night, providing they do so responsibly. These rights do not extend to all places or to all activities (see paragraphs 2.11 to 2.15). Provided you do so responsibly (see Parts 3 and 5 of the Code), you can exercise access rights in places such as:

  • hills, mountains and moorland;
  • woods and forests;
  • most urban parks, country parks and other managed open spaces;
  • rivers, lochs, canals and reservoirs;
  • riverbanks, loch shores, beaches and the coastline;
  • land in which crops have not been sown;
  • on the margins of fields where crops are growing or have been sown;
  • grassland, including grass being grown for hay or silage (except when it is at such a late stage of growth that it is likely to be damaged);
  • fields where there are horses, cattle and other farm animals;
  • on all core paths agreed by the local authority;
  • on all other paths and tracks where these cross land on which access rights can be exercised;
  • on grass sports or playing fields, when not in use, and on land or inland water developed or set out for a recreational purpose, unless the exercise of access rights would interfere with the carrying on of that recreational use;
  • golf courses, but only for crossing them and providing that you do not take access across greens or interfere with any games of golf;
  • on, through or over bridges, tunnels, causeways, launching sites, groynes, weirs, boulder weirs, embankments of canals and similar waterways, fences, walls or anything designed to facilitate access (such as gates or stiles).

Where do access rights not apply?
2.11 Access rights do not apply in the following places.
...and there's a big long list ... including nearby houses (privacy), sport grounds, land excluded by byelaws

What activities are excluded from access rights?
2.12 Access rights must be exercised in ways that are lawful and reasonable. By definition this excludes any unlawful or criminal activity from the time at which it occurs. Furthermore, being on or crossing land for the purpose of doing anything which is an offence or a breach of an interdict or other order of a court is excluded from access rights. This means that a person intent on such a purpose is excluded from access rights at the time they seek to enter the land. This is also taken to include the carrying of any firearm, except where the person is crossing land or water to immediately access land or water, or return from such, where shooting rights are granted, held or held in trust or by any person authorised to exercise such rights.
2.13 A list of the more obvious statutory offences relating to people’s behaviour is provided at Annex 1. This list includes poaching, vandalism, not clearing up after your dog has fouled in a public place, being responsible for a dog worrying livestock, dropping litter, polluting water, and disturbing wild birds, animals and plants. There are also common law of such as breach of the peace

Look - just go and read it yourself, you'll feel a lot better for it, folks. Then, if you think that a group of economic migrants can use the access code to set up a canvas shanty town on the outskirts of your village, you'll see that it can't. In fact, Annex 1 of the code lists crimes, and remedies for them. Collective trespass; damage/disturbance to animals/wild birds/plants; Dropping of litter; Lighting fires; Polluting water; Vandalism.

Communities makes money from visitors to areas of the country. Wild camping opens up new communities to new people. New ways to make money. Turning away wild campers is cutting the throats of some communities. But, what the heck, I live in a country that has incoming tourists who like our access laws.


BG!'s take on wild camping for England & Wales (link)

BBC Countryfile's forum discussion (link)

ePetition closed the weekend with 639 signatures, and a new centralised website.


BG! said...

Clear and concise - well said!

John Hee said...

nice one Duncan - one for the campaign page I think to save repeating ourselves?

Anonymous said...

Forget about these Englishmen; petition the Scottish Parliament about the lack of bridges.


AktoMan said...

I have a suspicion that this may run and run ;-)

I got it in the neck at work about it as some folk had been running team building projects building, yup, bridges out of straws.

I was thinking that the old timers would have waded (with a stick for support), or onto a pony, or have rope already across the river.