The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), the part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) which manages military land, today launched a film to urge the public stay safe when accessing military training areas.
Featuring the views of regular users of military training areas, the hard-hitting film is part of Respect the Range, a public safety campaign to protect the public and soldiers, and limit disruption to military training.
The campaign, which is targeting Salisbury Plain and Aldershot initially before being rolled out further, aims to raise the public’s awareness and understanding of the very real risks to personal safety when using military land.
The new film features visitors discussing how they use the land, as well as military personnel and DIO training safety staff sharing the, sometimes unseen, dangers they can face. These risks include live firing, unexploded ordnance and fast-moving military vehicles. In recent years training estate staff have reported an increase in visitors straying from public footpaths and rights of way on military training areas, endangering their own lives as well as anyone who is with them, including children and pets.
Accessing the military estate when and where it is not safe to also puts Service personnel at risk, and often interrupts vital training exercises, impacting on the Armed Forces’ ability to prepare to deploy in real-life situations.
The recent Covid-19 restrictions have made it more likely that people are exploring their local area, including military land, for the first time. As new visitors to the land, it is vitally important that they understand and appreciate the risks to their personal safety.
To protect themselves and stay safe while using military land, visitors are being asked to make sure they check training times before they travel and to observe safety information including red flags, signs and byelaws while they are there.
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.
For more information on accessing the training estate safely, see Accessing the training estate safely – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).