Consultation on Common Land proposals at Warcop Training Area
The MOD has launched public consultation on its proposals to revise two undertakings given in respect of land at Warcop Training Area in Cumbria. The original undertakings were given at a public inquiry held in 2001, and were intended to safeguard the future status of the land in the event of it ever being given up by the Department.
The public inquiry resulted in the rights of common at Warcop, Hilton and Murton commons being extinguished, but the MOD undertook to create new rights of common in the event of the cessation of military training. It also agreed not to remove the land from the register of common land created under the Commons Registration Act 1965.
With the change in legislation enacted under the Commons Act 2006, the undertakings are no longer appropriate, and would not have been given in their present form had the 2006 Act been in place at the time. However, the MOD still wishes to secure the future status of this land, and has proposed a revised undertaking which would do this.
Lt Col Philip Jennings, Commander Defence Training Estate (DTE) North, said:
“The MOD is committed to protecting the long-term future status of its land at Warcop. For this reason, we are keen to align undertakings protecting our land with changes in legislation introduced by the Commons Act.
“As part of the MOD’s commitment to responsible stewardship of its estate, it’s important to us to involve the local community in making this decision. This is why our proposals are subject to consultation and public scrutiny and we very much hope people will take this opportunity to respond.”
A detailed Consultation Report and a Summary Document have been published. They detail the revised undertakings and the legal processes involved. Copies are available to view at local libraries and at Warcop Training Area. The consultation documents can also be downloaded from http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/ConsultationsandCommunications/PublicConsultations/
Notes to editors
1. The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for providing, developing and maintaining a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities to meet the requirements of Defence.
2. Our work includes providing, supporting and improving: operational units; single living and service family accommodation; training areas and historic military sites. DIO actively manages these to ensure the needs of Defence are met, value for money is achieved, our heritage is protected and to achieve our environmental goals.
3. The area of DIO which delivers these outputs is called the Defence Training Estate (DTE). The DTE specifically supports the training requirements of Defence by providing a safe and sustainable training estate and facilities. The DTE delivers military training facilities and training advice and support in order to prepare troops for operations worldwide. Safe operation of ranges and live firing areas, including public safety, is a prime consideration.
4. The Warcop public inquiry held in 2001 examined the case for compulsory extinguishment of the rights of common at Hilton, Murton and Warcop commons in the national interest on military training grounds. These commons fell within the boundary of the Warcop Training Area.
5. The Independent Inspector recommended that the rights be extinguished, subject to various undertakings. Compensation was paid to the commoners, and a new grazing management regime instituted. The undertakings given have almost entirely been fulfilled. It is just those relating to the way in which the future status of the land is protected which MOD wishes to vary, which is because the Commons Act 2006 means that the original undertaking s cannot be fulfilled. Ultimately, the end result will be the same, with the proposed re-structuring achieving the same result, so far as is possible, as was intended at the time of the public inquiry.