A couple of weeks ago, the Government released a list of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in public hands, in response to a question from Caroline Lucas. The list indicated that over 70,000ha of Defence owned land was SSSI. That’s a hefty chunk of their 200,000ha of land in England.
I had a look down the list and noticed that according to Defra, the MoD only has 1008ha of the North Dartmoor SSSI, which has a total area of 13,559ha. Having surveyed 5000ha of the Dartmoor Training Area for the MoD in 2006 and 2007, that didn’t sound right to me.
As this map shows, the army have around 11,000ha of the North Dartmoor SSSI under their control.
Most of that land is owned by the Duchy of Cornwall and leased to the army for training. The lease was up in 2012, but I am pretty sure it has been, or is being renewed. Either way it should have been included in the list.
So that’s 10,000ha of MoD-controlled SSSI land missing from the list. Adding in this land would mean that over 40% of Defence owned or controlled land is SSSI.
I wonder how many other examples of “missing” land like this are out there.