A resident in the north of the island has raised concerns over the use of the Tholt-y-Will plantation for motorcycle racing.

The Southern Motor Cycle Club often use the area for ‘enduro’ competitions in agreement with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), with the latest of these races taking place on Easter Monday (April 1).

However, local resident Peter Stanev has raised concerns about the continued use of the plantation for recreational use due what the effect he says it has on the wildlife in the area.

In an email written to DEFA, the Manx Wildlife Trust and the MSPCA, Mr Stanev said: ‘Tholt-y-Will is the island’s largest forest, and is home to sparrow hawks, wallabies, other small animals and many types of forest birds which are currently laying eggs.

‘I ask for urgent action to stop offroad trail bikes from being used on this land. They will drive every type of bird and animal in the forest towards neighbouring roads and gullies.

‘Prior to races, the Southern Motorcycle Club wraps up a large part of the forest with plastic tape, metal fencing and plastic cones to indicate that they intend to drive through the middle of the forest itself - including over pristine moss areas.

‘There are signs at every entrance to the forest that motor vehicles are not allowed, and yet the club purports to have your departments permission to drive the most noisy and invasive of motor vehicles through the whole forest.’

Mr Stanev continued to state his ‘disbelief’ at DEFA’s permission, saying that there ‘can’t be anyone of authority daft enough to let this happen’.

In reply to Mr Stanev’s email, a spokesperson from the Manx Wildlife Trust commented: ‘Thank you for making the Manx Wildlife Trust aware of this event, of which we had no prior notification or consultation.’

A spokesperson from DEFA said: ‘The Department takes all public concerns seriously. Each year, DEFA endeavours to support local sports that wish to use plantations for particular events. This includes some enduro motorcycle events, which has been the case for many years.

‘Any clubs must adhere to an environmental code to minimise damage or disturbance and routes are planned accordingly. Clubs are advised to not use specially planted areas, while advice is given to them on the day.

‘Wardens check over the area before and after it is used, while motor cycle clubs only use areas which have been permitted to them in accordance with DEFA.’