Dartmoor National Park to Fight Supreme Court Appeal Over Camping Rights

Dartmoor National Park Authority to Fight Supreme Court Appeal Over Camping Rights

The Dartmoor National Park Authority has said it will fight a bid to overturn a legal ruling that restored camping rights in the area.

The authority was notified on August 25 that an application seeking to appeal the judgment had been lodged with the Supreme Court. The authority had 14 days to respond and the matter was urgently brought before members at their scheduled meeting today.

Members agreed to object to the application and, should the Supreme Court grant permission for a hearing, that the authority is represented to argue its case.

The authority’s chief executive and national park officer Dr Kevin Bishop said: “We respect the right of Mr and Mrs Darwall to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court but are disappointed that the unanimous decision of the Court of Appeal might not be the end of the legal process.

“The authority is clear about its role to protect opportunities for people to enjoy the National Park responsibly and in ways that are respectful of its environment and the people who live and work here.”

Image Source: Dartmoor NPA

The continuing case hinges on the legal meaning of words in the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985, specifically whether backpack camping on certain areas of common land counts as a form of open-air recreation and can be done without needing landowner permission first.

The authority said it has sought to defend the public’s right to access the national park for open air recreation ever since the case was brought before the courts, first at the High Court and then the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

The authority said it is confident that the Supreme Court will uphold the Court of Appeal’s decision and that the public’s right to camp in Dartmoor will be protected.

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