Thursday, 5 November 2020

Second British Lockdown: UK Artefact Hunters Thick as Planks

Over on the NCMD webpage they've got this notice:  

We have carefully read the guidance and the complete legislation (The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020) on the new national restrictions for England to ensure our advice to you is correct as we enter ‘Lockdown 2’ in England.
As a responsible organisation we had however also sought confirmation that detecting was still legal from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) earlier this week. They emailed us this afternoon with their view on what is legal, and published metal detecting specific guidance this evening. This guidance confirms our view that detecting is not prohibited during this lockdown. However we were very surprised that the DCMS has specifically excluded detecting on private land, whilst allowing detecting on public land (with permission) such as beaches, parks and other council owned land.
We do not agree with this view of the legislation.
We have challenged the DCMS about why they are excluding detecting on private land. We will update you when we know more. Until then we advise you to read and follow the DCMS guidance. Please stay calm and continue to stay safe.
Here "responsible detecting" is interpreted as getting an email from "somebody" that "detecting is still legal". Pathetic old fools. The relevant update to the text of the guidance first issued in May 2020 is as follows:
You must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. This can include exercise outdoors or to visit an outdoor public place - with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.

This means that:

Metal detecting can take place in an outdoor public place. You must have the permission of the landowner to detect on the land and should contact your local council or district councils to check the local policies regarding detecting on public land in your area as you may need a formal permit. This must be done alone, with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.

You cannot detect on private land even if you have permission from the owner.

The NCMD claim to have "read" the relevant act. I have too. It seems pretty clear, that people and their households in England are restricted to their own  properties, they can leave them under certain exceptions (and artefact hunting is not one of them) but only to enter public spaces and publicly accessible places such as shops and churches, but not the property of other households. That's why it's isolation, to restrict the passage of the virus. There are exceptions where an individual or certain designated individuals can enter private properties of other isolating individuals and households, and again artefact hunting is not on the list of exemptions. 

I really don't see where any of this is difficult to understand. Lockdown means lockdown. If the tekkies look, they'll see it's called "health protection", metal detecting is here not the most important issue at the moment. Let them stay away from other people's properties, as the law intends.Whether or not the silly old NCMD "agrees wiv this legislation" or not.  Let them stay away from FLO's homes too

Of course some of their members have the same barely literate fluff-for-brains. You can see a whole range of them on their FB page here and here for example. There are a lot of comments where people have failed to engage brains before flapping tongues. it seems to me that of the first several dozens of the comments I had the stomach to read, not a single ONE of them referred to the law on which the guidelines were based. It's just totally clueless ranting from mouthy blokes unwilling to get clued up and pausing for thought before writing stuff we can all see and judge metal detectorists by. Like this one:

Andrew Fudge
I really think this is a load of shite. I don't know who made these rules. You could end up meeting more people detecting on public land ffs. You won't see anyone on private. Don't make sense [emoticon]
Perhaps Mr Fudge would like to read the actual law, passed in Parliament to protect the public as a whole (rather than just facilitate his hobby) and see whether the wording of these guidlines complies with that law. When he sees it does (because it does), he can just shut up and responsibly comply with the law, whether he or his self-centred mates think it is fair to them personally. If there are a lot of people on public land too, in the interests of reducing the risk of spreading infection, he should give up the idea of metal detecting and - if he "must" - go back when there are fewer people. 

Perhaps the guidance needed pictures to aid comprehension for the hard-of-understanding, but the DCMS could have thought about writing for the particular audience that is the English metal detecting milieu:

"[Lockdown means] [in the interests of public safety] You must not leave or be outside of your [property] [or in somebody else's] except for specific purposes".  Fixed. 

TAKE A GOOD LOOK at this behaviour, for these are precisely the sort of people the PAS wants to grab more and more millions of public quid to make into the "partners" of the British Museum, archaeological heritage professionals and to whom they want us all to entrust the exploitation of the archaeological record. Take a good look and decide what you think about that as a "policy".  


Unknown said...

I still don't no if I can go to my local beach to detect

Paul Barford said...

That depends on whether the person who issued the permission is a public body or a private individual. The issue is, isn't it, whether its a public open space.

Creative Commons License
Ten utwór jest dostępny na licencji Creative Commons Uznanie autorstwa-Bez utworów zależnych 3.0 Unported.