Author Topic: Another threat!  (Read 748 times)

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Offline Tim Kingham

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Another threat!
« on: November 30, 2018, 07:55:04 pm »
I lifted this from the VMCC Forum as I think its of such importance

Motor cycling in NPs and AONBs

Unread post by rogerbibbings » Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:34 pm
Threat to motor cycling in NPs and AONBs?

Another review?
Nearly 70 years after National Parks and AONBs were first established, a new review is underway to ensure designated landscapes are ‘fit for the future’. Continued access by motor vehicles, including motorcycles, could be at risk. On 27th May, as part of Environment Secretary, Michael Gove’s shake-up of countryside management and agriculture, DEFRA launched a review of national parks and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs). Announcing the move DEFRA said ‘Nearly 70 years after the country’s National Parks were first established, opening up the countryside and allowing more people to connect with nature, an independent panel will look at how these iconic landscapes meet our needs in the 21st century – including whether there is scope for the current network of 34 AONBs and 10 National Parks to expand’.

Connecting people with nature
The review is being led by writer, Julian Glover and will also explore how access to these landscapes can be improved, how those who live and work in them can be better supported, and their role in growing the rural economy. The announcement continued, ‘Weakening or undermining their existing protections or geographic scope will not be part of the review, which will instead focus on how designated areas can boost wildlife, support the recovery of natural habitats and connect more people with nature’. Besides Julian Glover other members of the review panel include: Lord Cameron of Dillington, a cross-bench peer who is a farmer and landowner; Jim Dixon who has been Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park Authority for 12 years; Sarah Mukherjee, former BBC environment and rural affairs correspondent; Dame Fiona Reynolds, formerly the Director-General of the National Trust; and Jake Fiennes, estate Manager of the Raveningham Estate for the last 24 years.

Peg for the ‘antis’?
Looking at the terms of reference ( ... -reference ), this one stands out as the likely peg for ‘antis’ to have another go at motor cycling in these areas. * ‘The existing statutory purposes for National Parks and AONBs and how effectively they are being met …’ (‘Quiet enjoyment’ slots in there for NPs.
It can be expected that pressure might grow for authorities to extend National Park Temporary Restriction powers to AONBs (although it is not clear which bodies would exercise these). Given the recent problems with trials in the Peak District, comments - if not objections - might be raised regarding such events, and not just on unsealed roads. There could well be those within the horse world who might see this as an opportunity to make a plea for all remaining unsurfaced UCRs (white roads) to become vehicle free, and there may be a push for further use of the Quiet Roads scheme through villages. There is also a suggestion of possibly creating more AONBs.

Making our voice heard
Organisations have until 18th December to make an online submission (although it is not clear if there is any mechanism for sending in a written paper).
LARA, which VMCC supports, have made an input to DEFRA and have invited member organisations to also put in measured responses in their own name. Hopefully this will mean LARA and all other organisations that write in, will be included on the consultations list, and maybe get invited to give further evidence later. VMCC LARA reps John Harvey and David Giles have requested and received permission from the VMCC management committee,to draft such a reply. David has contacted what he calls his ‘rights of way group’ (mostly clerks of the course for various prestigious runs), asking them if they would like to make an input. David, who can be contacted at, can forward the DEFRA questionnaire and LARA reply to those who request it.

Comparisons with the USA
There is a UK Government webpage on cycling in National Parks. ( ... es/cycling). But what about pressing for a similar page on motor cycling in these areas? ‘Anti’ views are no doubt stoked by stories of irresponsible riders, for example, on sports bikes (see ... parks.html). By way of contrast, the US National Parks Service (NPS) encourages motor cyclists to visit their Parks (see And there are US companies offering National Park tours ( ... cycle-tour ).

As in the UK, noise is identified in the US context as a big issue, particularly its adverse impact on wildlife. The US NPS say ‘To help protect park resources and visitor enjoyment, the NPS supports the American Motorcyclist Association's (AMA) official position on excessive motorcycle noise: "The AMA believes that few other factors contribute more to misunderstanding and prejudice against the motorcycling community than excessively loud motorcycles. All motorcycles are manufactured to meet federally mandated sound control standards. Unfortunately, a small number of riders who install unmuffled aftermarket exhaust systems perpetuate a public myth that all motorcycles are loud." Exhaust noise checks with sound meters are often carried out on trials. Should UK motorcycling organisations have a similarly strong statement on minimising noise and also visual intrusion when riding in National Parks and sensitive areas? On the other hand, some low level of noise may actually improve safety however. Silent mountain bikes ridden at speed can catch walkers unawares. The same will be true of electric trials/trail bikes which are becoming more common.

Hard data
The case for allowing lawful access by motorcycles to National Parks (including unsealed roads) needs to be based on a well structured and evidence based assessment of costs (including risks) and benefits. The alleged problems of noise, damage and intrusion need to be based on surveys and hard data about current use rather than on anecdotage, on ill informed speculation or on subjective impressions. The benefits to riders and to local economies need to be highlighted as do sensible measures which can be taken to mitigate any problems. We need to show with good research based evidence, the low impact of responsible motor cycle use on safety and the environment.

Apologies. My sixpennyworth.

Roger Bibbings
Convenor RAG

Offline Paul Wheatley (Wheaters)

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Re: Another threat!
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 03:05:18 pm »
If the horse riders want motor vehicles banned from all unsurfaced tracks, I propose we get them banned from all tarmacked roads. As far as HGV horse boxes are concerned, which around these parts cause major tailbacks at weekends when some of us are trying to get to work, because they are driven at ridiculously slow speeds by barely competent horse riders...ban them too! ;-)

P.S. I have been known to ride the odd horse... some of them very odd, especially the one which threw me off forty five years ago and which still causes me neck and shoulder pain.
Cheers, PW.