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Anthony Mangnall MP introduces Bill to "allow enhanced access to Dartmoor National Park"

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Anthony Mangnall MP introduces Bill to "allow enhanced access to Dartmoor National Park"

Anthony Mangnall MP has introduced a Private Members’ Bill to "protect and even enhance the rights of recreational activities on Dartmoor" while "mitigating environmental and agricultural damage".

In his speech, on Wednesday 19th April, Mr Mangnall, whose constituency includes the southern part of Dartmoor National Park, called for the Dartmoor National Park Authority to be properly resourced and to be the responsible body for access management, as well as to work with key stakeholders.

Mr Mangnall acknowledged the national park’s "attraction to visitors as well as the importance of outdoor recreation". He also "welcomed the news" that Dartmoor National Park Authority was allocated an additional £440,000 of funding for 2023-2024, which will play a "significant role in helping welcome people to the national park and ensure that facilities are up to scratch".

However, Mr Mangnall stated that "greater support is needed to ensure that recreation does not come at the expense of environmental or agricultural activities".

Mr Mangnall’s Bill calls for a scheme which seeks to "connect the nation with our national parks, to expand volunteering opportunities, to educated and provide better information on the workings of our national parks, and to develop our ranger service to promote and protect Dartmoor National Park".

He said that this "builds on the measures in the Government’s Country Stewardship scheme, which encourages farmers to host tours of their farms for school pupils and to provide access maps, signage and facilities".

Speaking in the bill reading, Mr Mangnall said: “This Bill seeks to protect the balance of activity on Dartmoor between recreational, environmental, and agricultural sectors.

"It looks to promote, educate and inform citizens about the extraordinary work that is performed by farmers, landowners and environmental groups across the area while also encouraging access and enjoyment of this sacred space.”

Richard Foord, the Liberal Democrat MP for Tiverton and Honiton, spoke in opposition to the Bill, while Kevin Foster MP (Torbay), Simon Jupp MP (East Devon), Sir Gary Streeter MP (South West Devon), Sir Geoffrey Cox KC MP (Torridge and West Devon), Anne Marie Morris MP (Newton Abbot), Luke Pollard MP (Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport), and Selaine Saxby MP (North Devon) were all supportive. Dartmoor National Park (Access) Bill will have its second reading on Friday, 24 November.

Speaking after the bill reading, Anthony Mangnall MP said: “I am pleased that I was able to raise the importance of Dartmoor National Park and access, although disappointed to see local Liberal Democrat opposition.

"My Bill will promote access while also protecting the landscape and livelihoods of those who live and work on the moor.

"This Bill will help protect rights, access and opportunities from the Moor while also enhancing knowledge and understanding of the many conservation programmes that are taking place on this wonderful moorland.”

Dartmoor National Park Authority recently confirmed that they would appeal a High Court ruling which concluded there was no legal right to wild camp on Dartmoor without landowner permission. Members of Parliament are not permitted to refer to a current or impending court case under the sub judice rule, so as to avoid possibly influencing the legal outcome of the case.


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