The Government has given the thumbs-down to a request from more than 2,000 outdoor enthusiasts to allow wild camping in England.
Wild camping in the Lake District and the rest of England and Wales will remain illegal
Darren Christie organised an e-petition to Downing Street which was signed by 2,021 people. But No 10 said any move to allow wild camping, a right which already exists in Scotland, would be controversial and it has no plans to introduce such a change. It prefers, it said, to concentrate on coastal access.
This is despite a recognition of the appeal of camping in England’s remote areas and the benefits it might bring.
The original petition said: “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.
Downing Street’s reply was: “This Government appreciates the potential benefits of wild camping in England and its attractiveness to campers who already have the opportunity to camp in the wild in Scotland.
"The Land Reform Act in Scotland allows for wild camping, but the land issues and the legislation in England are somewhat different. The introduction of wild camping in England would be a controversial issue, which would require both significant consultation and legislative change.”
It went on to say that primary legislation would be needed to legalise wild camping, which is specifically prohibited by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, the inferior cousin in England and Wales to the right-to-roam Land Reform (Scotland) Act.
Writers Terry Marsh and Roly Smith were among signatories, along with former TGO deputy editor John Manning. The petition closed last month.