Consultation on draft revisions to Dartmoor's byelaws

Dartmoor National Park Authority has recently agreed draft proposals to review Dartmoor’s byelaws.

There will now be a public consultation which will start week beginning September 20.

The byelaws are in place to protect the special qualities of Dartmoor National Park including its wildlife, habitats, cultural heritage, archaeology, and the livestock that graze the commons. The current set of byelaws regulating access on the commons have been in place since 1989. They are now 32 years old and in that time there have been legal, practical, technological and societal developments.

The byelaws need updating to better reflect modern needs, improve public understanding and address issues which have the potential to damage the National Park’s special qualities. The review aims to ensure the byelaws are updated to be:

  • Relevant and proportionate for modern society
  • Clear and easy to understand
  • Cover the right activities and areas  
  • Complement other powers and legislation.

The Authority's Director of Conservation and Communities Alison Kohler said: “The Authority has agreed to consult on revisions to the National Park byelaws. We are doing this to ensure the byelaws are fit for purpose and help protect the National Park for all to enjoy today and tomorrow.

“Updating the byelaws is an important topic for everyone who cares about Dartmoor whether it's landowners, commoners, residents, businesses or visitors, and we recognise people will want to have a say.

“Following Authority agreement, a draft set of byelaws will go out to public consultation from week beginning September 20. We’re keen to hear a diverse range of views so we can develop byelaws that are relevant, clear, enforceable and enable people to enjoy Dartmoor, help look after it and ‘leave no trace’.”

The consultation will be publicised on the National Park’s website, social media and by news release. People can subscribe to receive newsletters to stay updated.

The consultation will remain open for six weeks. The following step is that the Authority will meet again to consider responses, agree appropriate changes and formally approve the byelaws. They’ll then be sent to Defra for final confirmation.