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Tuesday, 21 August, 2001, 18:04 GMT 19:04 UK
Critics blast Dartmoor firing
Dartmoor firing
Firing closes off parts of Dartmoor to walkers
A campaign has been launched to end two centuries of Army manoeuvres on Dartmoor.

The Open Spaces Society is pressing for the armed services to lose its licences to train on the moor.

The society's general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, says the the Ministry of Defence will decide by next year on where to train in future.

"We believe that it is not taking any account of whether the land is a national park," she said.

The Ministry of Defence occupies about 14,000 hectares of the national park in Devon.

Prehistoric remains

It was heavily used by British and US troops during World War 11.

Training licences are up for renewal in 2012.

Ms Ashbrook said on Tuesday that she had written to the Defence Estates opposing increased training on the moor.

Camouflaged soldier
Soldiers use the moor for camouflage training
She said live firing had caused "immense damage" to the landscape and its prehistoric archaeology.

"It is clear military training and national parks is incompatible, and this conflict can never be resolved," she said.

Colonel Guy Hony of the Army Training Estate headquarters, said he would not say whether Dartmoor would or would not ultimately be a "core site" for training.

Environmental care

A number of military units in the south west need a training area.

Colonel Hony said: "We are only too well aware of our environmental responsibilities.

"We have a large team of environmental specialists who try to balance environment and military training."

See also:

14 Jul 01 | UK
Dartmoor opens for business
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