A deal has been stuck that may have saved wild camping on Dartmoor. The arrangement will enable people to continue camping in designated parts of the National Park on a permissive basis. But at what cost?
I find this really disapointing: landowners will be paid for allowing wild camping. Wouldn't this money be better suited to fund some sort of enforcement,response team or clean up crew to deal with fly camping which I agree is against the principles of free access.
Having an open google map function of allowed areas is a good step forward to prevent roadside camping and party spots. If siimilar peinciple were applied in the Lakes, Peaks and Scotland then that would help with enforcement and road side party campers. My thoughts are id you're far enough from civilization that by the time they come for you you've already left then you're OK.
Hopefully this is just a 'stop gap' measure to enable the continuation of organised events, and that wild camping will eventually be judged to be a recreational activity, which of course it is, and therefore be allowed.
I note that Labour's shadow environment minister has stated that if in power, Labour would extend the right to roam. He said: “Our national parks should be open to all and access to Dartmoor is integral to that. Labour will expand the right to roam as part of our programme for government. Our natural spaces are here for us all to share for biodiversity, wellbeing and equity."
> I note that Labour's shadow environment minister has stated that if in power, Labour would extend the right to roam.
I am struggling to find out what is Labour's actual policy on this. There was a wide-ranging report in 2019, 'Land for the Many', authored by the usual suspects (and considerably flawed in many respects), which recommends a right to roam (possibly along the Scottish lines, although that is unclear), but that was under Corbyn and I can't see what the current party policy might be.
A right to roam on the same basis as Scotland would permit camping (which is expressly forbidden under CRoW). However large areas would still be excluded, as England has far more arable land than Scotland.
> > will eventually be judged to be a recreational activity, which of course it is, and therefore be allowed.
> A can of worms being opened there.
I'd rather see wild camping permitted in suitable places but not fly camping. I think a specific law is needed defining what wild camping is, i.e small tents, stay for one night in each place, no fires, access on foot (or bicycle/horse in case of bridleways) etc. A bit like what Dartmoor itself was proposing before all this came up.
I think the situation in the French National Parks is fairly reasonable - which is the right to bivouac. Basically, you have the right to have a tent up between an hour before sunset and an hour after dawn. I'd maybe modify it slightly for Scotland, to put some reasonable limits (like between 7pm and 8am in the summer).
"It is understood the Park will pay landowners who participate in the agreement, though the sum has yet to be decided."
Absolutely terrible. It's the thin end of the wedge. Wealthy landowners should not be allowed to hoard and control vast areas of land in this way.
We need a new Kinder Trespass.
We already have subsidies scheme to support land owners to facilitate recreational opportunities https://www.gov.uk/guidance/funding-for-farmers-in-protected-landscapes . I'm broadly in favour of encouraging our land use towards environmental and public recreation. I can see that having wild camping allowed could incur a cost, even on the most basic level of seeing lights and going to check if it's a "wild" or a "fly" situation. Wild camping must be an issue otherwise it wouldn't have been brought to court. In the long run, sure get rid of land owners and employ public stewards. But for now, this doesn't strike me as entirely bonkers.
> Wild camping must be an issue otherwise it wouldn't have been brought to court?
Certainly an issue in respect of the landowner’s ability to run pheasant and grouse shoots.
Ironically, having argued in court that this would be of benefit to the environment, he’s immediately breached his legal obligations and risks damaging wildlife populations by his actions.
I’d question the assertion that the action was justified on environmental grounds.
One thing that has raised the profile of the activity is YouTube and social media posting. back in the day we would do it, but be supper discrete and fastidious cleaning up and give landowners nothing at all to fret about because they didn't know and there was no evidence. Now its ion YouTube folks building fires and chugging beer.
I wonder how much the national park will pay the Darwell's on our behalf to secure this arrangement?
> I wonder how much the national park will pay the Darwell's on our behalf to secure this arrangement?
Since the NP is funded by our taxes we are paying them for this 'access'.
There is some limited access provision in this scheme, and again permissive, which is all very well but is ultimately expensive and vulnerable to change as opposed to statutory rights. The Government didn't listen to recommendations made by stakeholders and its own advisors. (ditto the Environmental Land Management Scheme)
It's interesting that he's OK with wild camping as long as he gets some money for it. It's always a wonder to me how rich people like him can never quite have enough money.
What's also happening here is that with the focus now being on Darwall's estate is that there is now knowledge that his release of pheasants is likely to be endangering a rare beetle that lives in areas close to where he operates shooting. It's ironic that he said he was opposed to wild camping for environmental reasons, yet he runs an environmentally destructive business that now seems to be putting endangered insects at risk. I hope this results in the money grabber's operations being closed down.