Some time ago the Welsh Government conducted a consultation on potential changes to access laws in Wales. Some of you probably responded using Cycling UK’s template, as the consultation received one of the biggest responses in Welsh history. Progress continues, with a second consultation on detailed proposals now taking place, so you have another chance to help bring increased access to Wales.
Things do look to be moving in the right direction, with the big news being that the proposals include simplifying the rights of way system to eliminate the difference between footpaths and bridleways – opening up footpaths to riders.
Tom Hutton from OpenMTB (and Singletrack contributor) said:
“We shouldn’t underestimate what a huge opportunity this is. They are really serious about it and if they push it through, which many of us think is possible, then not only will it make a massive difference to Wales and those that visit – the high mountain paths in some areas are pretty awesome – but it will also put pressure on England to follow suit…
I see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a massive difference to mountain biking in the UK!”
For those of you with little time, in a matter of moments you can register your support by submitting the template response available through Cycling UK’s website. This response has the support of OpenMTB. If you want to go ahead and submit that response now, head here. A copy of this detailed template response is available to read here.
The proposals form a pretty dense document, and understanding all the detail in all the technical drafting could take some doing, as it goes beyond the reclassification of paths.
If you’re considering writing your own submission to respond to the consultation, it’s worth reading the template response, as it does highlight a few areas where, hidden in all the technical detail, the proposals as drafted don’t give equal footing to cycling compared to other activities. While all responses to the consultation in favour of increased access will help the cause, personal ones which demonstrate that there would be a strong economic or social benefit to increased access will be particularly helpful. If you’re a business owner or resident who could benefit from these legislative changes, then if you can find the time to submit your views in your own words then these will hold greater weight than template responses. Remember – you don’t need to be in the cycling industry to benefit. Maybe you’re the headteacher of a school where increased access would allow children to ride to school safely? Maybe you run a village pub that would benefit from riders coming to the area? Perhaps increased access could create new business opportunities that would allow you to move to a rural area and create jobs? Remember, it needn’t just be about mountain biking and tourism – increased utility cycling will also offer many social and economic benefits that will bolster the argument for change.
Whatever approach you take to responding, the important this is to respond, and to submit it by 30th September 2017.
Reminder: the quick response option is here.