Cumbria

Public inquiry to be held into Warcop common land MoD plans

Gate with official notices
Image caption The proposed move affects 11,000 acres at Hilton, Murton and Warcop fells

A public inquiry will be held over plans to remove common land status from an area of moorland in Cumbria.

The proposed move affects 11,000 acres owned by the Ministry of Defence, which form part of the Warcop military training area near Appleby.

The Foundation for Common Land is worried removing the protection would make it easier to develop.

The MOD said there were no plans to sell off any land or use it for anything other than military training.

Common land status gives areas special protection from having anything built on them - as well as the usual planning permission, there has to be agreement from the Environment Secretary.

The land at Hilton Fell, Murton Fell and Warcop Fell can be accessed by the public when not in use.

'Already got control'

Julia Aglionby, from the Foundation for Common Land, said: "People could build roads across it, there could be wind turbines, tank training areas, and that would not require consent from the secretary of state.

"[The MoD] has already got all the control they need, there's absolutely no reason for the activities they are undertaking to deregister the land."

The MoD said in a statement: "After careful consideration of the responses to a public consultation we applied to deregister sections of the Warcop training area.

"We are currently awaiting to hear from Cumbria County Council regarding this application, elements of which are being considered at a public inquiry in September."

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