ForestHarvest: non-timber forest products in Scotland
|GATHERING | SUSTAINABLE HARVESTING | HARVESTING GUIDELINES | LEGAL AND ACCESS ISSUES | GATHERING CALENDAR|
Gathering NTFPs - Access issues
Walking across private land in Scotland is not a criminal offence as long as you do not cause any damage to property, crops or livestock. Nevertheless the landowner may insist on your leaving with good cause. According to the Criminal Justice & Public Order Act (1994), mass trespass with intent to interfere with management of land is an offence.
If an individual persists in disobeying instructions to leave with due cause, the Trespass (Scotland) Act (1865) may be invoked. Other Acts prohibit specific activities such as hunting without permission of the landowner. Armed trespass is a serious criminal offence.
Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003
The laws of access to the Scottish countryside changed with the introduction of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, 2003, and with the accompanying guidelines, the Scottish Outdoor Access Code [PDF file].
These two documents need to be considered together. The Act provides a right of access to land and to inland water, so long as those exercising the right comply with the Access Code. The detail, therefore, is in the latter document, which legally acts as a guideline to what is "responsible behaviour".
Most significantly, the 2003 Act makes the harvesting of NTFPs for commercial purposes without the consent of the landowner a criminal offence (previously it was a civil offence only). This is an important change whose consequences in practice are not yet known.
NTFP-relevant clauses in the Access Code
Land access is fundamental to people's ability to gather NTFPs. According to the Access Code:
But access rights do not extend to: