National Parks and The Military
The military needs to train but do they need to take up quite so much of our national parks? That is the question now being posed (January 2007) by the Council for National Parks . . . and no doubt by many of us when walking in Northumberland, the Brecons, Dartmoor and many other areas.
Of course this debate also encompasses low flying military aircraft in Snowdonia and the Lake District. Is this essential and awe inspiring or annoying and environmentally destructive?
The Council for National Parks fully acknowledges the need for some level of military training in national parks. The question posed, though, is whether this needs to be at current (and growing?) levels.
The CNP has just published research which assesses the impact, calls for an enquiry and makes recommendations on how the impact might be reduced in each of the Parks affected.
There have already been requests to remove live firing ranges from Brecon Beacons, Dartmoor, The Pembrokeshire Coast, Northumberland and the Peak District.
These requests have yet to be acted upon. So it seems that overall there is still a basic conflict between the purposes of the national parks (conservation and access) with the nation's need to provide opportunities for military training.
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“A prince ought to have no other aim or thought, nor select anything else for his study, than war and its rules and discipline; for this is the sole art that belongs to him who rules... it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art... a prince who does not understand the art of war, over and above the other misfortunes already mentioned, cannot be respected by his soldiers... He ought never, therefore, to have out of his thoughts this subject of war, and in peace he should addict himself more to its exercise than in war; this he can do in two ways, the one by action, the other by study. The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli. Jet Noise...... The sound of freedom.”
Rob Howden, Leicester.
“Hill walkers are happy enough to be rescued by the military MRT and helicoptered out by the RAF. A bit rich to complain because for about 30 seconds of your day the peace is disturbed by a low flying fighter.”
Rob Hindle, Sheffield
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