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We have objected strongly to the application from the Ministry of Defence for the continuation of ‘dry training’ (ie not live firing) at Cramber Tor on south-west Dartmoor, for an indefinite period. We consider that the application conflicts with the statutory purposes of national parks and with the Dartmoor National Park Authority’s policies, particularly its long-term vision that military training contrary to national park purposes should cease.
While we do not object to the low-key elements of the application, ie crawling, hiding, walking, running, cycling, cooking and camping, we do object most strongly to digging, wiring, blanks, pyrotechnics and flying, which are detrimental to the landscape and tranquillity of the moor, and of the public’s freedom to walk and ride there in beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
We say that the Ministry of Defence has not proved an overriding need, in the public interest, for its application, nor has it provided sufficient proof that there are no alternative means of meeting any alleged need.
We consider that the Dartmoor National Park Authority should not approve the continued use of the area for these potentially damaging activities, for an unprecedented indefinite period—ie for ever more.
However, we have asked that, if the authority is minded to grant the application, and without prejudice to our total opposition, the authority imposes strict conditions. These include a time limit to the application, a ban on digging, wiring and pyrotechnics, forewarning of low-flying helicopters and a limit on troop numbers using the area at any one time.