18 August 2023

Drone display held over coastal town to highlight military training land risks

18 August 2023

A drone display lit up the night sky of a coastal town with images of tanks, helicopters and soldiers to raise awareness of the dangers of military training land.

More than 100 drones took part in the display in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, to show how such areas can move from calm surroundings to combat zones.

Images changed from kites, mountain bikers and dogs into military helicopters and tanks as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Respect The Range safety campaign.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of the personal safety risks members of the public face when accessing military land, including live firing, unexploded ordnance and fast-moving vehicles.

There were around 3,000 incidents of people dangerously accessing the UK Defence Training Estate between September 2021 and September 2022, with almost 10% classed as near-miss incidents.

These included people walking across live-firing ranges and areas set up for pyrotechnics and explosives, dogs running into areas of training, and people picking up military debris.

Tenby was chosen for the drone display due to its proximity to the Castlemartin training area in Pembrokeshire.

Areas including Lulworth in Dorset, Longmoor in Hampshire, Barry Buddon in Scotland, Catterick in Yorkshire, Holbeach and Donna Nook in Lincolnshire, and Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire are also part of the campaign.

Brigadier Jonathan Bartholomew is the Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s (DIO) head of overseas and training region and the Defence Training Estate.

“In the last two years alone, the threats and challenges our country faces have evolved,” he said.

“Our Armed Forces are central to protecting the UK’s interests, especially at a time of heightened tensions across the globe.

“Through the Respect The Range safety campaign, we are asking the public to help us to keep them safe when accessing training land, as well as ensuring our Armed Forces can carry out their vital training uninterrupted.”

Members of the public are urged to check training and live-training times before they travel, stick to public paths, bridleways and byways, and observe safety information such as red flags, fences and signs.

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