Byelaw Review FAQs
Why are you carrying out the review?
The byelaws date back to the late 1980s and need updating to reflect changes in the way people are now using Dartmoor, taking into account legal, practical and technological changes.
The revised byelaws aim to remove ambiguity from existing byelaws, so we can continue protecting the special qualities and fabric of the National Park; its wildlife, archaeology and the livestock that graze the Commons.
Who will enforce the rules?
Dartmoor has a team of Rangers who routinely patrol the National Park and spend a lot of time talking with people about the byelaws. They are supported by volunteers, other staff, and on occasions, police officers.
Rangers will always explain and engage first, helping people to understand the rules and why they are needed. Enforcement is always a last resort.
Do you have the resources to enforce?
Enforcement is always a last resort. We investigate issues and we will enforce where there is clear evidence, and it is in the public interest to do so.
How do the byelaws aid enforcement?
The proposed new byelaws are much clearer for the public and the team enforcing the byelaws. They give clear rules about what you can and can’t do. This clarity is needed for enforcement.
What or where is the Access Land?
Access land includes land that is defined as Common land in Section 2 of the Dartmoor Commons Act, land designated or designated as access land under the CROW Act 2000 or other land to which the public has access because the National Park Authority owns or has a legal interest in the land. Please see map.
Has there been a change in the way that Motorhomes can use Dartmoor?
No, we are just clarifying the current policy. You have never been able to stay overnight in motorhomes, camper vans or caravans in car parks and laybys. There are many opportunities for people to use campsites and we have a variety available on and around the National Park. We want to support our local businesses and ensure that people are leaving no trace of their visit.
Are you banning wild camping?
No, we are proposing to remove some small areas (approx. 8% in total) from the permitted wild camping map. This is to protect these areas from overuse. We have also clarified what is meant by the term ‘wild camping’ to prevent problems caused by fly camping.
Why won’t you allow recreational drone flying on Dartmoor, yet will allow film companies to use them?
The use of drones and model aircraft on any common land within the National Park is not permitted under current byelaws. The proposed update clarifies the wording for the avoidance of all doubt.
A commercial operator would still require the permission of the landowner and the Authority. They must provide their CAA licence, Public Liability Insurance details and a flight plan before permission is granted.
Anyone flying a drone should be aware of and flying within Civil Aviation Authority regulations and code.
Why are the new rules limiting six dogs? Does this include commercial dog walking companies?
Yes, it does apply to professional dog walkers. The purpose of the byelaw review is to provide clear and simple rules which reflect modern developments and to ensure that dogs on the access land are under effective control.
The maximum number of six dogs is broadly in line with limits set by other local authorities and insurance limits for professional dog walkers.
Why does the lead for walking dogs have to be 2 metres in length?
This is in line with the national restriction which requires all dogs to be on a fixed short lead of no more than two metres between 1 March and 31 July for access land mapped as open country under Part 1 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. This provides clarity for users and ensures there is consistency across all open access land within Dartmoor National Park for dog walkers. The length of the lead is important for ensuring dogs are under effective control at lambing time or birds nesting on the ground.
The rules refer to when dogs should be on a lead and when under effective control – is this the same for six dogs as it is for one?
Yes, it does. It’s important that all dogs are kept under effective control or on a lead if asked.
What’s the penalty for breaching byelaws?
The penalty is a level 2 fine of £500. This is judged through the Magistrates Court.
Are you reducing the right of access on foot and horseback?
No, we are simply amending existing byelaws and ensuring they reflect modern life. People can still enjoy everything that makes Dartmoor so special: wild open moorland, wooded river valleys, history and heritage and more besides.
The byelaws refers to ‘pedal propelled vehicle’ – does this include electric bicycles and mini motos?
Yes, it includes electric bicycles and mini motos.
Are the rules for cycling on Common Land changing?
There is no change. Bikes are only allowed on Common Land or Access Land if they are following a bridlepath, byway open to all traffic or a permitted cycle route.
Does this address the use of Chinese lanterns? If not, why not?
Yes, they are covered in byelaw 9.
Why aren’t you banning barbecues?
We do not want to be over-restrictive. People can continue to use barbeques if used sensibly and in line with signs and guidance from our team. Never put a Barbeque straight onto the ground, never use in areas or at times when signs ask you not to, and always take your litter home.
The byelaws don’t seem to address the issue of littering which is an increasing problem. How is that being dealt with?
There is primary legislation (Environmental Protection Act 1990) that deals with litter in open spaces like Dartmoor. It is an offence to throw down, drop or deposit litter or do anything that may lead to the defacement of the place by litter.
How can I get involved in the consultation?
What will happen after the consultation?
After the six-week consultation, the responses will be analysed. A report will be presented to Dartmoor National Park Authority to consider the responses and make any changes necessary. The byelaws will then be advertised in the press for another 42 days and then go to Defra for confirmation.