This is a press release from a national coalition of mountain bike groups of which Ride Sheffield is a founder member. The group is keen that as many riders as possible react positively to the Welsh green paper by responding to the consultation process that accompanies it. Please follow the link at the bottom off the page.
A Real Opportunity for Increased Access across Wales
Last week, the Welsh Government published a consultation document (Green Paper) with a view to increasing access for all to the countryside.
This document has the potential to be very positive for off-road cycling; with one of the items on the agenda being the possibility of Wales adopting a Scottish-style Access Code.
The current legislative framework predates mountain biking, which is one reason it is so out of kilter with modern needs. Strategically, the arguments within the Green Paper apply with equal force to England, so a successful outcome in Wales will undoubtedly frame the debate for future access increases nationwide.
The document’s emphasis is on providing “easy and affordable access to quality local green space and outdoor recreation activities close to where people live,” and this will only be achieved with a root and branch reform of the current access settlement.
But governments only do things if they are seen to be popular, and on previous occasions where this has been debated, there’s been plenty of representation from landowners, walkers, fishermen and horse riders, but little or none from mountain bikers.
This is our big chance to be heard, but we need to take action and we need to take it fast.
As the consultation was only launched on Friday, the formal campaigns have had little chance to gain any momentum. But discussions are underway between CTC – the National Cycling Charity, British Cycling and a recently formed consortium of representatives from the mountain bike community, about working together to make the most of this important opportunity.
More information, including a summary of the consultation document and advice on how to respond, will be available shortly.