MOD consults public on countryside access

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The MOD has launched a formal consultation on the five-year review of 21 sets of access arrangements, set up in 2007, relating to Open Access on military land across the country. Walkers, cyclists, horse riders and other people who use military land have the opportunity to contribute to this consultation.

Most military sites where hazardous or sensitive activities take place are covered by MOD Byelaws made under the Military Lands Act 1892 (MLA). These allow safe public access, when permitted, and give approval for appropriate activities. The MOD has a programme to review and update these Byelaws.

New or revised Byelaws will be introduced for the majority of these sites, but in the meantime, Section 28 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act) allows the Government to make a ‘Direction’ that excludes or restricts access onto land covered by the Act for the purpose of Defence.

These Directions can be for short-term, long-term or indefinite periods. They do not necessarily restrict all public access. In most cases of the 21 directions made in 2007 the public are welcome to visit the ranges or training areas when the red flags are down or at times of reduced military activity - we do not propose to change the current arrangements for access under this review.

The CROW Act states that a review of Section 28 directions must be undertaken after 5 years and include a minimum of two weeks consultation, but the MOD has voluntarily extended this period to one month. The consultation closes on 19th November 2012.

For further information on the Consultation process and to take part see the related links.