The only problem with this article is that it's [rude word removed]
The proposed legislation, for which the consultation has been published: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-consults-on-new-police-powers-to-criminalise-unauthorised-encampments
which makes it clear that this is an intent only to criminalise trespass "with intent to reside".
George then goes on to infer that this is a new thing, an attack on the rights of a minority, however again this is demonstrably false. Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order act 1994 already criminalises encampments like these, but with the stipulation that those persons have between them six or more vehicles on the land and have caused damage (which is evidentially difficult to prove) or been aggressive/abusive. So, this is not a 'new' thing, but merely a tightening of existing rules. Indeed, legislation aimed at tackling the problems associated with the travelling community are nothing new, dating back till, at least, the Egyptians Act 1530, which sought to outlaw: "an outlandish people, calling themselves Egyptians, using no craft nor feat of merchandise, who have come into this realm, and gone from shire to shire, and place to place, in great company; and used great subtlety and crafty means to deceive the people--bearing them in hand that they, by palmistry, could tell men's and women's fortunes; and so, many times, by craft and subtlety, have deceived the people for their money; and also have committed many heinous felonies and robberies, to the great hurt and deceit of the people that they have come among...."
However we need to look further. George then infers that this is an invidious attack on the historic institution of Trespass as a purely civil matter, however in this he can once again be proved demonstrably wrong. The Game Act, 1831 criminalises, amongst other things, "persons trespassing in the day-time upon lands in search of game
" and allows that "Trespassers in search of game may be required to quit the land, and to tell their names and abodes, and in case of refusal may be arrested.
" - we then go on to consider the impact of the Vagrancy Act, 1824, which criminalised:
"every suspected person or reputed thief, frequenting any river, canal, or navigable stream, dock, or basin, or any quay, wharf, or warehouse near or adjoining thereto, or any street, highway, or avenue leading thereto, or any place of public resort, or any avenue leading thereto, or any street, or any highway or any place adjacent to a street or highway; with intent to commit an arrestable offence"
which seems pretty exhaustive - and then we look back again at the CJPOA 1994, which additionally outlawed not only aggravated trespass (trespass with intent to intimidate, obstruct or disrupt lawful activities) but also trespass involving groups of 20 or more persons in the open air while listening to amplified music (including music characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats)
So, essentially, George's pretence that Trespass is, indeed ever was, a purely civil matter is fundamentally flawed. Now, are there potential knock on effects for bike packing and wild camping - yes, there could be, and we need a clear explanation of the term 'intent to reside' - So I'm sure a number of our representative groups will be putting forward responses saying that... but this sort of attempt to paint the proposed legislation as some form of creeping attack on our civil rights (in order to continue pushing his sixth-form level personal political agenda of land reform) is alarmist nonsense, and does nobody any favours.