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Illegal off-roading to be targeted across protected sites

01 May 2024 2 minute read
Damage caused by off road vehicles

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is calling on people to help protect upland landscapes from the potentially devastating environmental damage caused by illegal off-roading.

The calls come following increased reports of illegal off-road activities in the Berwyn a Mynyddoedd de Clwyd / Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Illegal off-road driving can have a harmful impact on landscapes and cause distress to both wildlife and local communities. It can also cause far-reaching consequences for the environment by disturbing sensitive habitats.

Habitats

The Berwyn and South Clwyd Mountains SAC boasts the largest area of blanket bog and European dry heath habitat in Wales. In spring the area sees bird species such as cuckoo, curlew, hen harrier and merlin join resident red grouse and black grouse to nest on the heather-clad moorland.

Disturbance and damage by off-road motorised vehicles, such as quad and dirt bikes, are putting their habitats at risk during a time when birds are breeding and are already in the grip of a nature emergency.

Rhys Ellis, NRW Environment Team Leader for Denbighshire, said: “Illegal off-roading can put both people and nature at risk.

“The costs for the ensuing clean-up and restoration are significant and the damage to nationally important and protected sites such as Y Berwyn can be devastating.

“Some of these habitats have formed over thousands of years and are sensitive to ground disturbance. Damage caused in a few seconds of illegal off-roading could take decades to recover – or may never recover without intervention.

“By calling on the public for support, we hope to raise awareness of the impacts of illegal off-roading on our uplands, and the threats they pose to our environment, whilst hopefully helping to prevent damage from occurring in the first place.

“We would urge anyone living nearby known off-roading sites in North East Wales or who sees people driving illegally to report it to the police by calling 101 or to NRW on 0300 065 3000.”

The unauthorised use of any motor vehicles is illegal on the Berwyn SAC and causing damage to any Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) site is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. NRW has powers to investigate and take enforcement action.

More information about how you can enjoy the Welsh countryside safely.


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John
John
24 days ago

Two things about this annoy me.

Firstly there have been several attempts to require ‘off road’vehicles to be licensed and display a number plate, however these have been blocked by Government.

Not a cure but it would allow off road vehicles to be siezed from their owners homes not chased across mountains

Secondly given the problem illegal use of motor bikes, quad bikes, electric bikes etc cause why dont we see protests outside the dealers?

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
24 days ago

Send in the Drones !

Ap Kenneth
23 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Bomb them with anti-theft smart water and then they can be picked up travelling back on the A5 as the liquid leaves a unique identifier, whose presence is invisible except under ultraviolet black light.

hdavies15
hdavies15
23 days ago
Reply to  Ap Kenneth

Something a touch more “terminal” would be even better !

hdavies15
hdavies15
23 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Instead of selling them to Israel et al deploy them over our vulnerable remote countryside.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
23 days ago
Reply to  hdavies15

Fit them with pylon and turbine pole cutters…

(there were aircraft equipped with balloon cable cutters in 1940)…

Rhufawn Jones
Rhufawn Jones
23 days ago

Llawer iawn o wehilion o ganolbarth Lloegr yn dod yn eu jips i fanaleiddio fryniau cysegredig Meirionnydd. Theme park Wales. Dyna’r oll ydym bellach. Un maes chwarae enfawr.

Bill Fearnley Whittingstall
Bill Fearnley Whittingstall
23 days ago

Illegal off roading is endemic throughout Wales. I am surely not the only person to have been threatened with violence by off roaders.

John
John
22 days ago

Very often the issue isnt just the offence but all the baggage it brings with it such as threats of violence etc

The Duke
The Duke
21 days ago

Yet another attack on the motoring enthusiasts of Wales. It seems crazy that there are more green lanes for motorbikes and 4X4’s in Kent than there are in Wales. Pretty soon farting will be outlawed in Wales.

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