We are often asked what the DPA stands for. In response to this we collated a list of policies dealing with some of the main issues on Dartmoor. Our policies are subject to frequent review and amendment where appropriate. We encourage members to comment on policies.
Policies are discussed and formulated at regular meetings of the Executive Committee. We are an active organisation in respect of relevant consultations. In particular we contribute to the formulation of the Management Plan for Dartmoor National Park and to the various planning consultation processes.
DPA POLICIES – JANUARY 2020
1 The DPA supports and promotes the right of public access to all Common Land on Dartmoor; to Access Land under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; to all Rights of Way; and to all land that has traditional public access. (“Public Access” means access on foot, bicycle, or horseback in accordance with relevant legislation or regulations.)
2 The DPA supports and promotes the listing of land under the CRoW Act, including newtakes and rough grazing, whilst remaining sensitive to areas of Dartmoor where habitat conditions may require limited or no access.
3 The DPA is opposed to fencing on Dartmoor Access Land where none existed beforehand, unless there is an overriding need which cannot be met by alternative means. In the case of dry-stone walls, the DPA supports traditional rebuilding with stone.
4 The DPA supports the protection of all ancient monuments, whether scheduled or not, and seeks the preservation of these, and the artefacts and buildings found on Dartmoor
5 The DPA supports the preservation of the natural habitats found on Dartmoor and seeks, wherever they are threatened, to find the means to provide the necessary protection.
6 The DPA recognises the invasive nature of bracken, gorse and some other native and non-native flora and fauna to archaeological sites and will pursue ways of bringing them under control
7 The DPA is opposed to the extension of china clay workings on Dartmoor and adjacent land.
8 The DPA is opposed to military live firing on Dartmoor and holds the view that military training on Dartmoor is incompatible with its status as a national park
9 The DPA supports traditional extensive hill farming on Dartmoor and small scale local traditional industries.
10 The DPA is opposed to the reopening of lapsed quarrying activities, unless they are supported by the local community and serve a genuine local need.
11 The DPA is opposed to the disfigurement of the moorland landscape by television masts, mobile telephone masts and wind farms. Small scale wind generators serving a single farm or hamlet will be judged on the merit of the planning application.
12 The DPA will examine planning applications for developments within the National Park and oppose those it considers detrimental to Dartmoor.
13 The DPA is opposed to housing developments in moorland villages that are not specifically aimed at satisfying local needs.
14 The DPA supports the return to natural broad leafed woodlands; to natural regeneration; and to open moorland. It is opposed to the development of further soft wood plantations. Where self-seeding occurs beyond the boundaries of existing soft wood plantations, the DPA calls for these trees to be removed to prevent further expansion.
15 The DPA recognises the importance of ponies to the Dartmoor landscape and supports those schemes which are in keeping with good husbandry and which will ensure the survival of a healthy pony stock
16 The DPA accepts that swaling is good Dartmoor practice and encourages its use within the guidelines laid down by the Commoners Council, the Dartmoor National Park Authority and Natural England, but it believes that its use should be restricted to the period between 1st October and the last day in February each year.
17 The DPA will practise good management on all of its own properties, demonstrating that traditional farming, habitat protection, biodiversity and public access can co-exist.
18 The DPA is opposed to any recreational activity that causes damage to, or otherwise interferes with the quiet enjoyment of, the fabric, flora or fauna of the moor.
19 The DPA will purchase land, subject to the availability of liquid assets, if there are good and justifiable reasons for so doing.
20 The DPA opposes all applications for commercial wind farms situated on, adjacent to, or impacting upon, Dartmoor. The DPA will work with like-minded organisations towards this end. The DPA will consider supporting applications for small scale wind power schemes, provided that they are sensitively sited and meet the needs of individual buildings or small communities.
21 The DPA has supported the Dartmoor Mires Project, a pilot to explore the feasibility and effects of restoring degraded areas of high-quality blanket bog, to reduce erosion and to promote regeneration of moorland bog vegetation. It continues to support the monitoring and scientific assessment of the pilot phase and is now a member of the Peatlands Partnership – a collaboration of government agencies, non-governmental organisations, landowners and commoners. In early 2018, the Partnership obtained a Defra Capital Grant of more than £1.6million to restore 326ha of peatland on sites at Flat Tor Pan, Amicombe, Hangingstone Hill and Red Lake. Part of the DPA’s role in the Partnership will be to ensure that the fullest consultation takes place with all stakeholders including commoners and other Dartmoor user groups; and that management for archaeology will, when necessary, take precedence over biodiversity.
22 The DPA opposes the use of chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides on common land and all open access land, although small scale applications via a knapsack sprayer may be acceptable in certain circumstances. In particular the DPA calls on Government to give a commitment that it will not authorise the aerial spraying of chemicals, such as Asulam/Asulox against bracken, on any common or open access land on Dartmoor.
23 The DPA supports the government’s objective of improving habitats for wildlife, creating healthier places for people to live and work, and leaving the environment in a better state for future generations. However, it feels that the proposed biodiversity net gain hierarchy has no place in the Dartmoor National Park and that adverse impacts on the environment should always be avoided altogether, rather than mitigated. The primary purpose of the National Parks is to conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage and no development is acceptable which would cause damage to biodiversity or harm the environment.
24 In view of the unacceptable level of livestock casualties and the impact this has on commoners, the DPA supports the 40mph speed limit within the National Park, particularly on unfenced roads where livestock is present, and calls for the regular enforcement of this speed limit.
25 National Parks contribute significantly to the wellbeing of the nation, by providing safe, attractive, healthy places for active travel and recreation. They contribute to better physical and mental health through improved opportunities for engaging with nature and they provide benefits for local businesses and communities. The DPA encourages improved access to, from and within National Parks, to allow everybody to take advantage of these benefits. However, currently a lack of public transport prevents many people from visiting these key national assets.
The DPA believes that physical access to Dartmoor National Park should be an important priority. It supports the promotion of a cohesive public transport policy by the government and the National Park Authority and encourages the use of public transport.
26 The DPA is opposed to the public use of the military roads in the vicinity of Okehampton Army Training Camp.