A dramatic drone display lit up the night sky of a Welsh coastal town to deliver a serious public safety message from the Ministry of Defence.
The drones took to the sky on 16 August in Tenby, Wales, as part of a MOD campaign to remind the public of the simple actions they should take to stay safe when using military training land.
The display, made up of 100 drones, used a series of stunning aerial images to show how quickly military training areas can change from calm surroundings to combat zones. Moving lights transformed kites into military helicopters and mountain bikers into tanks during the display, which was part of the MOD’s Respect the Range safety campaign.
Respect the Range aims to raise awareness and understanding of the personal safety risks that the public face when accessing military land, including live firing, unexploded ordnance and fast-moving military vehicles.
Recorded instances of the public dangerously accessing the UK Defence Training Estate totalled around 3,000 over the 12-month period from September 2021 to September 2022. Of these, almost 10% were classed as near-miss incidents. Instances have included people walking across live firing ranges and areas set up for pyrotechnics and explosives, dogs running into areas of training activity, and people picking up military debris, all of which had the potential to cause a fatality or a life-changing injury.
This phase of the Respect the Range campaign is targeting visitors to a number of holiday hotspots across the UK, with Tenby chosen for the drone display due to its proximity to Castlemartin Training Area.
Other locations where Respect the Range is being rolled out this summer include: Lulworth, Longmoor, Barry Buddon, Catterick, Holbeach & Donna Nook, Aldershot, and Salisbury Plain.
To ensure they stay safe and protected while using military land, the MOD is urging holidaymakers, day-trippers and locals to:
- always check training and live firing times before they travel
- stick to public paths, bridleways and byways
- observe safety information including red flags, fences, signs and by-laws while on military land
Brigadier Jonathan Bartholomew, DIO’s Head of Overseas and Training Region and the Defence Training Estate, said:
In the last two years alone the threats and challenges our country faces have evolved. 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.
For more information on how to access MOD land safely, visit: www.gov.uk/guidance/safe-access