MOTORBIKES and quad bikes could be banned permanently from some green lanes under suggestions being considered to prevent further damage to the upland tracks.
But Infrastructure Minister David Cretney told MHKs that if such bans were introduced, alternative places would have to be found for those who legitimately use off-road areas for motorised sport.
The minister was quizzed in the House of Keys by Bill Henderson (Douglas North) about the ‘destruction’ of public footpaths by motorised vehicles.
And Alfred Cannan (Michael) suggested a ban on the use of motor vehicles on the green lanes over the winter months until the end of March.
Mr Cretney said he and had other ministers had met that morning with a range of representatives from environmental groups who were concerned about damage to the ancient green lanes.
‘One of the suggestions is a permanent ban on the use of motorised vehicles on green lanes. The damage is so great that some areas may have to be taken out from vehicle use. That is a decision in the time ahead.
‘If that is the case, alternative areas would need to be made available. We do have to take into consideration the views of those who legitimately use off-road areas.’
Mr Henderson cited the example of the Dalby Lhag Road which runs south of Niarbyl to the Eairy Cushlin car park and suggested there were some simple common sense measures that could be taken to prevent damage.
Mr Cretney insisted the Dalby Lhag Road was not a footpath but the D60 road which would require Tynwald approval if it was to be closed.
He said: ‘Over the years it has been slowly eroded by vehicular traffic but recently has also suffered badly from water erosion. It is clear from inspection that the track has suffered from water damage over the winter months, as the lower section, which is maintained by the farmer, has a large rut scoured out of the loose surface. Further damage has been caused by water erosion in ruts lefts by motorised vehicles.’
The minister said his department has ‘significant’ budget pressures but in partnership with the local farmer it was expected that some repair work would be carried out in the coming financial year.
He insisted there was very little damage caused to public footpaths by motorised vehicles – although what was becoming an issue was the use of mountain bikes on the public footpath network. ‘While by and large the damage caused by mountain bikes is not too severe at the moment, the damage is starting to become more noticeable,’ he told MHKs.
Mr Henderson suggested that Mr Cretney should ‘stop moaning about resources’. He said closing certain green lanes to traffic would help to regenerate them and reduce damage.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Wednesday 22 May 2013
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Temperature: 6 C to 11 C
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