Offensive Weapons Bill

Written evidence submitted by the National Federation of Coppice Workers (NCfed) (OWB105)

I represent the National Federation of Coppice Workers (NCfed)  and we are most concerned with section 15 of the proposed Offensive Weapons Act.

Coppice workers work all over the country manage a range of diverse woodlands. They keep traditional crafts alive such as hurdle making, hedge laying, furniture making and spar making, used by thatchers, to name just a few of the crafts they undertake.

It is a difficult way to make a living with pressures such as weather, disease and demand. The margins are very slim and many coppice workers struggle to make any sort of a living but keep going with a desire to keep our woodland areas healthy and productive and also with a desire to maintain the traditional crafts, which must not be lost at any cost.

A great many of the tools a coppice worker will use are specialised and not available in a retail environment and have to be obtained either by mail order or from the internet and sent by post.

Many coppice workers work in remote rural areas and do not have ready access to high streets even if the tools were available.

We would like Section 15 to be deleted from the act so that coppice and indeed other workers who rely on the tools they need to carry on working can continue to be sent through the post. If section 15 remains intact a great number of coppice workers will not be able to carry on. This will be a loss not only for them and our industry but also the whole country. We recognise that the act as a whole is necessary for the safety of people but again would beseech you to reconsider section 15 it is not really necessary for the bill to remain effective.

Ken Hilton

Director NCFed.

July 2018

 

Prepared 13th August 2018