Last call for voices to be heard

Laura White
Laura White

Deadline approaching to have your say on the proposed changes to Dartmoor’s byelaws

Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA) has been holding an online public consultation regarding the proposed changes to the 30-year-old byelaws for Dartmoor.

The consultation closes on 1st November, so if you wish to comment, please do so quickly.
Alison Kohler, Director for Conservation and Communities at DNPA, said:

“While Dartmoor has remained constant, our lives have continued to change. Advances in technology, changing legislation and changes in how people access open spaces are all having an effect, both good and not so good. Some challenges have been long-term, but the COVID-19 pandemic brought them sharply into focus.

‘Current byelaws need revising to ensure they better reflect the modern world and enable people to enjoy the things that make Dartmoor so special: wild moorland, wooded river valleys, cultural heritage, rare wildlife and more besides.

‘We’re proposing revisions to existing backpack camping rules to ensure they are clearer and are within the original ethos of the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985; that is, to allow people to truly experience wild camping with the ‘leave no trace’ principles still in mind. The revisions seek to withdraw some small areas (around 8% in total) which are struggling with overuse and/or where the moorland fabric is being damaged.

‘Dartmoor National Park Authority was created by the Environment Act 1995 to conserve and enhance Dartmoor’s natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and promote opportunities for people to understand and enjoy its special qualities. We also have a duty to promote the economic and social wellbeing of our local communities. We see organised events as a great way to blend all three in ways that benefit Dartmoor. It is wonderful to see people making connections to the landscape through recreational events. However, they need careful managing so the precious habitats and wildlife which people come to enjoy remain protected. In recent years there’s been an increase in the number and size of these types of events which puts pressure on the environment.

‘It is essential that event organisers work with and seek permission from landowners and us, so events are safe, manageable and don’t adversely impact on protected sites or wildlife or the people living and working on Dartmoor.

‘There will be mixed views, but we know every single one has a genuine interest in, and concern for, this wonderful landscape. This is your opportunity to look at the proposals and offer feedback through a survey.

‘After  the Authority will meet again to consider responses and agree appropriate changes. The revised byelaws will be advertised for a further six weeks. Subject to any feedback they’ll then go to Defra for final confirmation.
Whether you enjoy watching the sunrise from the top of a tor, or love looking up at the stars while you’re under canvas, we hope you’ll help us continue to care for this special place.”

Please visit www.dartmoor.gov.uk/about-us/who-we-are/byelaws-consultation to submit your views.

Local Life