Changes to trespass rules would create more hurdles to countryside access

19th January 2021

CPRE, the countryside charity, has joined forces with nine other campaign groups – including the Ramblers and Open Spaces Society – to urge the government not to make trespass a criminal offence.

Lockdown is once again showing us how important getting out in the countryside and local green spaces is to so many of us. CPRE believes that the countryside should be there for everyone, so we are concerned by government proposals to make trespass a criminal offence. This would affect how people can access and enjoy the countryside and green spaces, which is ever more important in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

We strongly believe that recreational activities, such as walking, cycling, camping, climbing or canoeing in the countryside, should not put you at risk of committing a crime.

CPRE, as part of a coalition of organisations, has written to the Home Office, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to set out our key concerns ahead of a parliamentary bill which would lead to these changes. Surely the government should be making the countryside and green spaces accessible and welcoming to more people, not building yet more barriers!

Thousands of people agree and have already signed a petition calling for the government to scrap these plans. A debate on the issue in parliament has been postponed, but in the meantime, you can write to your MP to urge them to attend the debate when it happens. Here’s a template letter: Letter to MPs | Right to Roam

Oliver Hilliam

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