Respect the Range and stay safe on military land
Members of the public who walk, cycle or ride on military training areas are being urged to stay safe, in a video launched today by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), part of the Ministry of Defence.
The Respect the Range campaign aims to raise awareness of the risks to personal safety that can be present on military land, including live firing, unexploded ordnance and fast-moving military vehicles. It also emphasises the importance of keeping to public rights of way in these areas.
To promote this message, the DIO has produced a film targeted at cyclists, showing how the land is used by both members of the public and the military, and highlighting the risks, both obvious and hidden.
Coronavirus restrictions have made it more likely that people are exploring their local area, including military land, for the first time, so it is vital that all visitors understand and appreciate the risks to their safety. They key messages are:
- Check training times before you travel
- Observe safety information, including red flags, signs and byelaws
- Keep to public rights of way
The campaign initially targets the Aldershot military lands, in Hampshire and Surrey, and Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire – which is crossed by King Alfred’s Way, the 350km off-road route through southern England launched by Cycling UK last year.
Sophie Gordon, campaigns officer at Cycling UK, who was involved in creating King Alfred’s Way, said: “Some of the best places to ride in the UK are on military land. While Cycling UK is aware there are wider issues around access in some areas, we fully support the need to keep people safe while riding on the land the DIO looks after. That means not picking up suspicious objects, keeping to the public access routes and checking online before heading out to make sure it’s not in use by the armed forces.”
Brigadier Jonathan Bartholomew, DIO’s head of overseas region and the Defence Training Estate, said:
"The MOD supports access to military land and respects the public’s enthusiasm for wanting to explore it. In return, this campaign asks everyone to respect the very real dangers associated with doing so. Whether they’re dog walkers, mountain bikers or ramblers, everyone must stick to public access routes and check live training and firing times before heading out.
“If a red flag is flying then access to that area is prohibited, as some form of training will be taking place. By abiding by these simple rules, everyone has a part to play in helping to ensure that we can all enjoy the land safely, and the military can train uninterrupted.”