In the sitting on Tuesday, Infrastructure Minister Chris Thomas said the department would look at controlling users’ behaviour after a number of MHKs recounted incidents putting them in ‘terrible danger’ on greenways.
Greenway roads are restricted to 500kg unladen weight, which limits access for vehicles to motorcycles, however there are lightweight four-wheel drive vehicles which are light enough to use them.
These restrictions were put in place with the intention of protecting some of the more delicate roads in the island by limiting their use.
Bill Henderson MLC was among the complainants, saying: ‘We have speeding gangs of scramble bikers, motocross races and all the rest of it on our greenways, certainly over TT week, which certainly placed myself and my family in terrible danger at two particular points where we were literally knocked out of the way into a hedge to escape from serious injury.’
She added: ‘I used to use the green lanes a lot for walks with my children and not just green lanes where motorised vehicles are allowed but also plantations, where they are not.
‘The work areas are so rutted that you have to walk awkwardly and slowly around them, and you have to keep your eyes on the ground the whole time. When we had experienced a couple of near misses as bikes came around a corner so quickly and nearly hit us, we called it a day.’
Mr Thomas said: ‘In terms of the health and safety aspects, I will obviously take that up with my ministerial colleague from DEFA who is now, as I understand it, responsible for health and safety.
‘But there is no specific record of the number of cases of risks that have been recorded to date over the five years.
‘But customer services do take complaints and do things that are necessary as a result of that, and potentially there is a basis for further investigation.
‘Finally, just an extra point I wanted to make having discussed it briefly with the departmental member in this area.
‘We have always got the issue of enforcement and we have always got the issue of budget around enforcement and around action.
‘That is something that we will be looking at in the department in the coming weeks. This is a very important issue. It is important to me and we will do what we can to address it.’
He added: ‘I completely accept the potential for environmental, even ecological damage and will investigate further. As part of the budgetary process I am absolutely sure that the DoI will be looking to make sure it has adequate resources.’