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Dartmoor National Park Authority News Release

1 February 2013

Safeguarding the national interest – protecting the National Park and providing for military training

Dartmoor National Park Authority’s Development Management Committee today considered a planning application for the continued change of use of Cramber Tor training area for military dry training for an indefinite period.

Temporary permission was granted allowing use for a period of 40 years and subject to a number of conditions to control the impact of that use.  

Bill Hitchins, Chairman, Dartmoor National Park Authority, said
“Today was the first time the Authority has considered a planning application for military training at Cramber Tor on south west Dartmoor.  The Authority has considered the Environmental Statement submitted by the applicants, the results of monitoring studies into military use of Cramber Tor, and listened to the views of the public and other consultees.

In granting a temporary permission we have balanced the need for military training to support and equip our armed forces with the long-term purposes of the National Park.  We have imposed a set of conditions which will enable the military to train and for the National Park Authority to monitor and control the environmental impact of that training.  

Whilst accepting that the case is currently made out for training at Cramber Tor, the Authority has not granted permission in perpetuity.  The temporary permission granted means that there is a long term stop date, and allows an opportunity for formal re-assessment of the case for continued training at that date.

I sincerely hope that there will come a time when the military no longer needs to train on Cramber Tor as it hopefully means we live in a more peaceful world.  Until that time we will continue to work with the military to minimise their impact and ensure the public’s enjoyment of this special place is not spoilt.”


For further information

Bill Hitchins, Chairman Dartmoor National Park Authority
Tel: 01752 705494
Kevin Bishop, Chief Executive (National Park Officer) Dartmoor National Park Authority
Tel: 01626 832093
John Weir, Head of Communications, Dartmoor National Park Authority
Mike Nendick, Communications Officer, Dartmoor National Park Authority
Tel: 01626 832093

Notes for Editors

The report considered by the Authority on the continued change of use of Cramber Tor training area for military dry training for an indefinite period can be viewed on the National Park Authority’s website under Development Management Reports 1 February 2013 (scroll down to item 9). Application appendices can also be viewed on this page.

Dartmoor National Park Authority’s purposes under the Environment Act 1995 are:

  • to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park;
  • to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the area by the public.

In carrying out this work, we are also required to seek to foster the economic and social well-being of local communities within the National Park.

Following removal of Crown Immunity for most planning purposes for the Ministry of Defence, this application represents the first time that formal planning permission has been applied for the use of part of the National Park for military training purposes.  

A series of planning consultations stretching back to the 1980s has consented the use of this area for more than 28 days in a calendar year subject to conditions.  The latest consent granted in January 2003 expired in January 2013.

Situated on south west Dartmoor (within the National Park), Cramber Training Area (CTA) forms part of the Dartmoor Training Area (DTA) and is routinely used in conjunction with the adjacent Ringmoor/Sheepstor Training Area.  It provides an open terrain and a physically demanding and challenging environment in which service personnel can carry out a wide variety of individual and collective training.  The harsh, rugged nature of the area combined with the often unpredictable weather allows soldiers to develop self discipline, resilience and self reliance as well as building individual skills and teamwork.   The CTA has over one hundred heritage assets including archaeological sites, scheduled monuments, find spots and deposits.  The area is all generally accessible to the public and important for biodiversity: Gutter Tor Mire is a County Wildlife Site.  

The area has been used since 1981 for light force and dismounted training and other activities (dry training).  No live firing takes place on Cramber Tor.

In reaching its decision, the Authority had to balance a number of considerations:

  •  policy considerations and in particular the application of the major development test looking at   alternatives outside the National Park
  •  impact on biodiversity and ecology
  •  impact on archaeology and heritage assets
  •  impact on access and recreation including quiet enjoyment
  • suggested conditions in the event of an approval recommendation, as well as an analysis of whether a temporary or permanent permission is appropriate and how it should be controlled.

In 1949 the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act was passed and the first UK National Parks were designated in 1951. Dartmoor was designated in October that year, the fourth area of land in the UK to receive National Park status.

Agendas for full Dartmoor National Park Authority meetings and Dartmoor National Park Authority planning meetings are available on the Authority's web site.

You can receive an e-mail notification each time a News Release is issued by the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

For News Releases from all UK National Parks visit (external link, opens new window).

There are 15 members of the National Parks family in the UK: Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor, Exmoor, Lake District, New Forest, Northumberland, North York Moors, Peak District, Pembrokeshire Coast, Snowdonia, South Downs, Yorkshire Dales, Loch Lomond & The Trossachs, the Cairngorms and the Broads.  National Parks are of special value to the whole nation because of their great beauty, their wildlife and cultural interests and the opportunities they offer for quiet enjoyment.  However, they are not nationally owned - the land is in the hands of many landowners or occupiers including farmers.  Over 33,500 people live in Dartmoor National Park and many millions of visits are made to it each year.

Page last updated: 01 Feb 2013
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