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 Friday, 3 January, 2003, 16:07 GMT
Army go-ahead for Dartmoor training
army training on dartmoor
The MoD has used Cramber Tor since 1981
A controversial extension of military training on Dartmoor has been approved.

The National Park Authority has voted to allow the Army to continue using Cramber Tor in the south of Dartmoor for another 10 years.

The authority received 1,700 objections before making its decision on Friday.

But it agreed with the military that, with Britain facing a war in Iraq, it was important to maintain the country's training facilities.

Map showing Cramber Tor
Nick Atkinson of the Dartmoor National Park Authority, said: "Our management plan objectives for the longer term are that all damaging military use of Dartmoor should cease as soon as that is consistent with national defence needs.

"We will continue to press that and this decision does not prejudice that in any way."

Lt Col Charlie Nutting, of the Army Training Estate South West, said: "I believe the planning committee came to a sensible decision based on a proper case presented by the Ministry of Defence."

But environmentalists called the decision a "bad day for Dartmoor".

Kate Ashbrook of the Open Spaces Society, said: "The National Park Committee as a whole did not uphold National Park principles that the park should be an area for quiet recreation."

The Army has carried out training on the tor, near Burrator Reservoir in the south of Dartmoor, since 1981.

The training is restricted to firing of blanks - so-called "dry training".

Inquiry call

The Army also carries out training, using live ammunition, in the north of Dartmoor, covering an area of 30,000 acres.

Solider in camouflage
No live ammunition is used
The Army wanted to extend its usual 10-year licence for Cramber Tor, which covers 2,000 acres, to 20 years.

But as well as restricting the licence to another 10 years, the new licence carries extensive restrictions including the use of vehicles and helicopters.

Our correspondent Simon Hall said that the decision is a significant victory for the military, who faced a concerted campaign against their training by an alliance of environmental groups.

The DPA, the Ramblers' Association and the Open Spaces Society, said that a public inquiry should be held.

But there is some comfort for those groups who have succeeded in raising the profile of the issue.

Conservationists say that they will now campaign against that and the renewal of live firing licences the north of Dartmoor - around Okehampton, Merrivale and Willsworthy - when they come up for renewal in 2012.


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25 Mar 02 | England
05 Oct 01 | England
25 Jan 01 | UK
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