Dartmoor Steering Group and Working Party

The Dartmoor Steering Group was established in 1978 on the instructions of the Secretaries of State for Defence and Environment following the recommendation of Baroness Sharp's non statutory public inquiry into the Military use of Dartmoor in 1975.

It brings together the Ministry of Defence plus the key statutory and landowning bodies that have an interest in the management of Dartmoor Training Area to keep under review the best possible reconciliation between the requirements of military training, conservation and public access.

Its members include:

  • Defence Infrastructure Organisation
  • Duchy of Cornwall
  • Dartmoor National Park Authority
  • Dartmoor Commoners Council
  • Historic England
  • Natural England.
  • Commando Training Centre Royal Marines
  • Army - Ten Tors 

The Dartmoor Steering Group is supported by the Dartmoor Working Party. Its purpose is to research issues as directed by the Chairman, to resolve matters passed to them and to carry out day to day management of the Steering Group’s responsibilities.  

Meeting minutes

The Dartmoor Steering Group meets annually and since 2007 has published minutes of its meetings and the annual report to the Secretaries of State for Defence, Environment and Food and Rural Affairs: 

Publication scheme Under Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Dartmoor Steering Group and Working Party seeks to reconcile the interests of military training in the Dartmoor National Park with conservation and public access, and to review progress in considering the recommendations of the Sharp Report of 1976.

Dartmoor Steering Group and Working Party Publication Scheme under Freedom of Information Act 2000

Annual Reports

Licence for Military Training

Much of the land upon which the MOD trains is privately owned and training is undertaken under license from landowners including the Duchy of Cornwall. The last licence for military training on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall expired in 2012 and there was an extensive programme of study, review and public consultation before Ministers gave, in January 2009, agreement for MOD to renegotiate its training licence with the Duchy of Cornwall.

The Dartmoor Steering Group (DSG) agreed that ‘Ministers will be recommended to establish an agreed consultation process in advance of any future licence renewal exercise and it was subsequently approved that work on recording the lessons learned should start in 2008.

The lessons learned, which are both negative and positive, have enabled principles for future licence discussions to be deduced and recommendations to be made to Government on the principles to be followed for future processes. 

A copy of the report and covering letter submitted to the Secretaries of State for Defence and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs can be downloaded:

Lessons Learned from the process to renew the Ministry of Defence’s licence to train on Dartmoor: submission to Ministry of Defence and Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, December 2011

Letter to the Secretaries of State for Defence and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from the Chairman of the DSG, December 2011 A new licence for military training on land owned by the Duchy of Cornwall commenced in 2012 for a period of 21 years.  As part of the licence renegotiation process Defra has asked the Ministry of Defence to provide a report at the mid-point, which would be a stock-take of the training area’s environmental management system, which includes environmental management tools and monitoring, usage data and public access.