The MoD have been planning for the past couple of years to close off public access to what they call the “danger area”. This means the actually ranges and all of the surrounding roads significantly limiting access.
There are bylaws in place (dating back to 1885) protecting rights of public access to the land when firing & military exercises are taking place. During such times they (the MoD) must clearly mark this my red flags and lamps around the perimiter. Before such bylaws were in place this was common land which many locals used to graze livestock on.
In April 2020 the MoD were putting forward for public consultation their plans for further restricting our right of access. Instead what they have done is used the current COVID-19 pandemic as a smoke screen to close off access. At a time when many thousands of people are dying from covid-19 including front line NHS workers, I find the MoD’s behaviour.
I took up the matter of the MoD’s plan with Michael Gove MP back in early February when the new gates started to be installed. I had been told by a worked on the front gate that the MoD were going to “close off the ranges”. Michael Gove responded and passed on my query to the Secretary of State for Defecence Procurement Jeremy Quin MP. In my letter I had outlined a number of issues including the vandelism, which is unacceptable, and the fact that if this is reported to the front gate the response I and a number of other people I have spoken to was “it’s not our problem”. My response from Jeremy Quin focussed wholey on vandelism.