Dartmoor National Park Authority has decided to object to a new application from Alexander Darwall, seeking to appeal the Court of Appeal’s judgment which reinstated the legal right to backpack camp on Dartmoor without landowner permission.
With 14 days to respond, the matter was urgently brought before members at their next scheduled meeting. 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.
DNPA’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.’
The ongoing 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 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 (SCUK) is the final court of appeal in the UK for civil cases, and for criminal cases from England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.