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Ministry Land

Volume 405: debated on Thursday 15 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) improvements to and (b) restrictions placed upon access to land owned by his Department since 1997. [112360]

Since 1997 improvements to public access to the defence estate include:

the continuing implementation of specific objectives published in the Estate Strategy 'In Trust and On Trust' (published in 2000), an important part of which related to the introduction of Environmental Management Systems and Integrated Rural Management Plans (IRMPs), which address public access;
the appointment of dedicated Access and Recreation Officers for the Army Training Estate (ATE) in general, and Otterburn Training Area in particular;
a programme of Public Access Studies which are identifying access opportunities at a number of Army Training areas;
improved provision of information, such as site specific leaflets and the revised Walks on Ministry of Defence Lands booklet (published in 2001), and the Defence Estates Access website.
Work is also being carried out on the development of methodology for path condition and visitor surveys; and also for disabled access provision.Public access to the defence estate is kept under continuous review but is, of course, subject to operational, safety and conservation requirements, as well as the interests of our tenants.MOD has an Access and Recreation Working Group which works closely with Statutory Bodies and Non Government Organisations through an Access and Recreation Focus Group.Access issues are included in the Environmental Law and Policy Course and the Conservation Course provided for MOD staff by the Department of Specialist Management Training (RAF Halton).