Ministry of Defence: byelaws review
The Byelaws Review team is carrying out a far reaching overview and update of byelaws as they relate to all MOD sites in the UK.
Across the defence estate the department has numerous and varied sites ranging from coastal firing ranges to garrisons in urban areas, each with its own set of issues. A byelaws review team has been set up specifically to look at this important area. It is a painstaking and complex exercise which will take several years to complete.
As a first step the team has identified MOD sites which have no byelaws but are now deemed necessary. These have been prioritised and each in turn made subject to individual review to determine the precise individual requirements to be included.
Byelaws are a form of delegated legislation, used mostly by local authorities and government departments; they cover a defined geographical area, normally regulating certain activities in the interests of safety and security. Presently under the provisions of the Military Lands Act 1892 (s14), the Secretary of State for Defence is empowered to make byelaws to regulate the use of land being used for military purposes.
Many of these byelaws date back to the early part of the 20th century and do not reflect subsequent changes within the department or changes of use within sites. Breach of a byelaw is a criminal offence and as such the enforcement of byelaws is one of a number of tools which the department can use to help protect its sites. Equally the presence of byelaws can allow public access over areas of the estate that would otherwise be prohibited.
The review is being conducted in accordance with the principles of open government. In addition to listing all byelaws that have lapsed and those to be reviewed, it advertises proposed new byelaws as they are issued, enabling wider public consultation within the process. After being collated and recorded all responses received during the consultation process are found through this website together with the department’s replies.
As the review proceeds copies of all new byelaws made by the Secretary of State are added to the site under the reviewed byelaws category. The byelaws are also available to download from the UKSI website once made.
It is intended that this byelaws information will be maintained in perpetuity enabling free online public access to all Ministry of Defence byelaws and background material about the review.
MOD byelaws are defined in the following categories:
- lapsed byelaws
- revoked byelaws
- byelaws to be reviewed
- proposed new byelaws
- reviewed byelaws
Additional content is added as the review progresses.
Defence Infrastructure Organisation
Byelaws Review team
PO Box 349
Telephone: 01252 361986 (answer phone)
Byelaws by region
Select a region below to view the byelaws.
- Channel Islands byelaws
- East Anglia byelaws
- East Midlands byelaws
- Greater London
- North East byelaws
- North West byelaws
- Northern Ireland byelaws
- Scotland byelaws
- South East byelaws
- South West byelaws
- Wales byelaws
- West Midlands byelaws
- Yorkshire and Humberside byelaws
Key documents relating to byelaws:
Byelaws consultation process
- Information about the consultation process.
- Proposed new or replacement MOD byelaws undergoing public consultation
- Ministry of Defence byelaws responses
- The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Aldermaston Byelaws 2007
- The Woodbury Common Range Byelaws 2009
- The Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Burghfield Byelaws 2010
- The RAF Welford Byelaws 2010
- The Atomic Weapons Establishment Blacknest Byelaws 2010
- The Thetford Range Byelaws 2011
- Northwood Headquarters Byelaws 2011
- Ot Moor Range Byelaws 2012
- The Caversfield Service Family Accommodation Byelaws 2012
- The RAF Barford St John Byelaws 2014
- The RAF Croughton Byelaws 2014
- The Sculthorpe Training Area Byelaws 2015
- The RAF Brize Norton Byelaws 2015
- The Templeton Training Area Byelaws 2016
- Is-ddeddfau Ardal Hyfforddi Tredeml 2016
- The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre Byelaws 2016
Byelaws to be reviewed
Information held in the National Archives:
Over the years the MOD has reviewed existing byelaws, in the process revoking previous byelaws. The MOD has also revoked byelaws on land that is in the process of being disposed of. This list may be helpful in showing for environmental and historical research those areas of the country once occupied by MOD.
Aldershot and District Military Lands Byelaws 1939 (PDF, 2.53MB)
Aldershot and District Military Lands Byelaws 1950 (PDF, 2.18MB)
- Atomic Weapons Research Establishment Aldermaston Byelaws 1986
Bellerby Moor and Wathgill Ranges Byelaws 1972 (PDF, 4.05MB)
- Brecon Beacons Rifle Range Byelaws 1905
Browndown Rifle Ranges Byelaws 1929 (PDF, 3.69MB)
Canterbury Military Lands Byelaws 1915 (PDF, 1.86MB)
Canterbury Military Lands Byelaws 1923 (PDF, 2.03MB, 5 pages)
Catterick Bellerby Moor Rifle Ranges Byelaws 1931 (PDF, 4.46MB)
Catterick Bellerby Moor Rifle Ranges Byelaws 1932 (PDF, 2.87MB)
HMS Forest Moor and Menwith Hill Station Byelaws 1986 (PDF, 2.02MB)
- The Holy Loch Byelaws 1986 and The Holy Loch (Revocation) Byelaw 1992
- Ot Moor Range Byelaws 1980
Portsdown Hill Military Lands 1928 (PDF, 1.95MB)
Portsdown Hill Military Lands 1935 (PDF, 2.42MB)
- Royal Air Force Welford byelaws 1988
The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre Byelaws 1984 (PDF, 2.15MB, 14 pages)
- The Royal Ordnance Factory Burghfield byelaws 1986
- Shoeburyness military tramways byelaws 1960
- Thetford Rifle Range in the County of Norfolk byelaws 1916
- Strensall Camp Military Lands byelaws 1936
- Weybourne anti-aircraft artillery range in the County of Norfolk Byelaws 1937
Woolmer Forest and Longmoor rifle ranges byelaws 1915 (PDF, 1.28MB)
- Yantlet (Grain Island) Artillery Range in the County of Kent Byelaws 1939 (PDF, 2.55MB)
Over the years the MOD has sold or transferred the freehold or relinquished the leasehold at a significant number of sites that were once the subject of byelaws. In order to give guidance to the public as to which byelaws are recognised as being unenforceable these have been collated on to The National Archives ‘lapsed list’.
This list may also be helpful in showing for environmental and historical research those areas of the country once occupied by MOD. Unfortunately in some cases the department no longer holds copies of the relevant byelaws listed below and consequently in these cases no active hyperlink is in place. It is possible, however, that copies may still be held in local county record offices, but no check has been made by MOD.”
Information held in the National Archives:
Why review the byelaws?
Legal, practical and technological developments have all combined to cause the review of all the MOD byelaws. Some of the main issues are as follows:
- changes in the operational use of a range may have changed the range danger area rendering the byelaws out-of-date
- changes in rights of access to the countryside in England and Wales, particularly as a result of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000
- changes to access in Scotland. There is a statutory requirement in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 for all byelaws to be reviewed. There is a statutory requirement to then change byelaws to meet the requirements of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code
- changes in de-facto public access need to be considered and incorporated in the byelaws if appropriate
- voluntary land registration has resulted in an examination of title issues and a check that MOD is operating byelaws on land which it owns, leases and licences
- improvements in mapping technology and a relaxation in security concerns mean that we can produce better plans to attach to byelaws to make them clearer(We have noted the comments by judges that additional clarity in mapping and boundary markers would be desirable in certain cases)
- we need to make small changes to some of the standard wording to match changes in other legislation and refer to new MOD operational structures
- we need to clarify our control over vehicles on MOD private land and to clearly define our borders with public highways
Sites affected by SOCAP
A number of sites are subject to designations under the provisions of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCAP). MOD wishes to align the byelaws with the SOCAP designations. Enforcement of SOCAP regulations and byelaws is often undertaken by the ‘Ministry of Defence Police (MDP)’.
As part of the review MOD is seeing if it can align byelaws with other statutory instruments such as Dockyard Port Orders. This will ensure greater clarity on where one set of rules on access apply and when other legislation applies.
Published: 12 December 2012
Updated: 22 February 2017
- Updated Lapsed byelaws list.
- Add revoked byelaws - Browndown Rifle Ranges Byelaws 1929, Castlemartin Armoured Fighting Vehicles Ranges Byelaws 1942, Canterbury Military Lands Byelaws 1923, Canterbury Military Lands Byelaws 1915, The British Underwater Test and Evaluation Centre Byelaws 1975, Browndown and Rowner Military Lands Byelaws 1928, Browndown Rifle Ranges in the County of Hampshire Byelaws 1918, Royal Tank Corps Centre Bovington Camp Military Lands Byelaws 1925.
- Updated Revoked Byelaws.
- Updated lapsed byelaws: Pakefield Ranges in the County of Suffolk Byelaws 1939, Pippingford Park Old Lodge Rifle (Classification) 2-in Mortar and Grenade Ranges Byelaws 1943
- Updated Reviewed Aldermaston byelaw.
- Updated revoked and lapsed byelaws
- Added new revoked and lapsed bylaws
- Added link to Brecon Beacons Byelaw
- Added link to BUTEC links into revoked and reviewed Byelaws.
- Added link to Is-ddeddfau Ardal Hyfforddi Tredeml 2016 under Reviewed byelaws.
- Added link under reviewed byelaws for The Templeton Training Area Byelaws 2016.
- Added links to reviewed byelaws section for The Sculthorpe Training Area Byelaws 2015 and The RAF Brize Norton Byelaws 2015.
- Added a link to the Byelaws responses page.
- Added link to 'The RAF Barford St John byelaws 2014' on legislation.gov.uk.
- Amended text and added links in new section "Sites affected by SOCPA".
- Replaced MOD police document.
- First published.