Ahead of the busy summer holiday season, the Defense Infrastructure Organization (DIO), part of the Department of Defense (DIO), is urging vacationers and local residents to take extra care and check military firing and training times when accessing Defense Department websites that are shared with the public. . This includes a number of popular coastal locations.
A sand drawing depicting an oversized military vehicle has come to life at Saunton Sands Beach in Devon, an area steeped in military history and adjacent to Braunton Burrows Training Estate.
The artwork kicks off the next phase of the Respect the Range campaign, a public safety initiative to warn visitors of the very real risks they face when entering public land used by the MoD for training. Risks include:
- live shot
- unexploded ordnance
- fast moving military vehicles
Entering military training areas when it is not safe to do so not only puts visitors at risk, but can also endanger maintenance personnel and interrupt vital exercises designed to prepare the armed forces for deployment in real-world situations.
The MoD wants to raise awareness of the risks to the general public, especially any holidaymakers or day-trippers heading to coastal hotspots this summer.
There are many MoD training sites in the UK, but Respect the Range highlights the following key sites with general public access that could pose a significant risk to locals and tourists: Salisbury Plain and Aldershot.
To protect themselves and stay safe when using military land, the Ministry of Defense encourages visitors to:
- check training times before you travel
- maintain public access routes
- observe safety information, including red flags, fences, signs, and statutory rules while on military land
- don’t touch any weapons they come across and report it
Brigadier Jonathan Bartholomew, DIO’s Overseas Region and Defense Training Facility Manager, said:
With the summer holidays now upon us, it is an important time for us to raise public awareness of the locations of MoD training facilities and how the public can stay safe while visiting them. While last year’s Respect the Range campaign targeted the villages of Salisbury Plain and Aldershot, this year we are focusing on protecting our coastline for tourists and visitors.
These beauty spots are common lands where families, tourists and locals alike spend time. But it’s also where our Armed Forces train with live fire, so it can go from calm to treacherous on the hour, 24 hours a day.
The MoD supports public access to most military properties and encourages visitors to explore the beauty of Britain’s beaches, but this should be done in accordance with military guidelines and with caution. We ask the public not to cross restricted areas, stick to public roads and always check live shooting times. This will help protect you, your loved ones, and military personnel. It is important that we work together to share these spaces with respect and consideration.
Respect the Range highlights the reuse of each location, using memorable photography and design, and targeting the most common types of land use in hotspots. This phase of the campaign builds on last year’s pilot experience, which focused on the MoD’s landlocked areas, bringing in coastal areas as well. The hazards vary but are equally dangerous between different locations and it is important that the public is aware of them in order to stay safe.
Please note that Braunton Burrows Training Estate is not an area used for live fire training.
For more information on how to safely access military property, visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/safe-access
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