Trespassing should certainly not be a criminal offence

I thought this excellent piece on the the drawbacks of the current law of trespass was worthy of a wider audience:

George Monbiot has been writing in a similar vein:

The Book of Trespass, by Nick Hayes, is massively researched but lightly delivered, a remarkable and truly radical work, loaded with resonant truths and stunningly illustrated by the author.

It shows how the great estates, from which we are excluded, were created by a combination of theft from the people of Britain (the enclosure of our commons) and theft from the people of other nations, as profits from the slave trade, colonial looting and much of the £30tn bled from India were invested into grand houses and miles of wall: blood money translated into neoclassical architecture.

Now that there seems to be a possibility that trespass may become a criminal offence, I would encourage anyone who is worried by the possibilty (as I am) to sign this petition to Parliament.


  1. Michael G -

    I have tried several times now, but this petition seems unsignable. The corroborating email never appears.

    1. Peter May -

      Have you checked your junk folder? My corroborating email always goes in the spam!

      1. Michael G -

        It wasn’t in junk. In the end I used my other email address, which worked perfectly. I have another occasional problem, where I briefly see a notification on screen that the corroborating email has just arrived, but when I look for it, it is not in the inbox, junk, or anywhere I can find. Perhaps Virgin spam filtering is overzealous, and has removed the email instantly. Their server has sometimes stopped us sending any emails while on holiday.

  2. Graham -

    My wife comes from Yorkshire and we usually have trip down there or to the Lakes each year, travelling from Scotland. I am absolutely amazed at the way the English put up with the restrictions, which can be very confusing, between the different designations. We were going to do a walk to a hill top on a moor, but when I looked up the Estate the whole moor was closed for weeks to allow grouse shooting.

    In Scotland we always had an informal “right to roam” and this was put on a statutory basis in 2003. We can “roam” almost anywhere, with only a few exceptions, such as the cartilage of private houses, or where an entry fee is normally payable, as long as Access it taken “responsibly”.

    But we had our enclosures too – see “The Poor had no Lawyers” by Andy Wightman, (now a Green MSP) and huge swathes of land are owned by just a few families and almost anyone from here or abroad can come and buy up tens of thousands of acres on which to play out their personal fantasies.

    It means that a lot of land is basically unproductive, given over to shooting, which, apparently, is a sport for the rich. This has had the consequence of a huge increase in deer numbers and together with the sheep, removal of tree cover and burning, not to mention the people also removed, have created what FraserDarling called “a devastated terrain.”

    Common Weal and others have put forward proposals for the regeneration of Scotland’s uplands, including getting people back.

    1. Peter May -

      Agree. I used to travel regularly up and down a road in Exmoor that used to have signs up saying drive slowly grouse in road. We plebs were all supposed to drive slowly so that some wealthy Swiss banker could shoot them out of the sky a month later…

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