Police To Get Tough With Illegal Off-roaders

by Nathan 7

lake district national park

Police have warned it is time to get tough with motorcyclists and 4 x 4 drivers illegally using nationally important Lake District land.

Caldbeck Common in the northern fells – which falls into two high scale protection categories – has seen extensive surface damage and threats to animals, including some of the area’s outstanding wildlife

It is owned by the Lake District National Park and area ranger, Graham Standring, has welcomed police support, saying the deteriorating situation and wanton damage has to be stopped.

He explained: “We’ve had spiralling problems and although Wigton police impounded a vehicle in the autumn, the situation is again causing great concern

“People delude themselves into thinking because it’s a common, it gives them the right to use four wheel drive vehicles, quads and motorbikes on this relatively remote and precious land. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

“They are breaking road traffic, wildlife and countryside acts, as well as trespassing. Only registered commoners are allowed to use the land for agricultural purposes.

“This is a Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. As well as causing widespread surface damage, there are very real dangers to livestock and ground nesting birds such as curlew, meadow pipit and skylark.”

Graham said wherever possible registration numbers were being taken and handed to police, who were taking the matter very seriously.

Inspector Dennis Kelly, of Cumbria Police, said: “We will be working closely with LDNP to trace the inconsiderate people who are committing offences on Caldbeck Common. Those found to be driving illegally on the land will be dealt with seriously – it is a beautiful area that we should all respect and work to protect.

“We are aware of the extent of the damage caused and will be carrying out enquiries and conducting checks in the area to ensure that people understand that by driving on this land they are breaking the law and can face prosecution.”

Comments (7)

  1. phew

    i thought this was going to be about mountain bikers being nicked on cheeky trails.

  2. Is there a difference? Being somewhat provocative, and speaking as someone who has poached the odd footpath on a nightride, how can this be considered different to MTBs on FPs?

  3. Isn’t the point that they want to prosecute people who are driving across a “Special Area of Conservation and a Site of Special Scientific Interest.”

    If you were being cheeky on your bike in similar circumstance you could expect similar treatment. If you were just riding legally/environmentally non-sensitive cheeky trails then it’s not a like for like comparison.

  4. [em]It is owned by the Lake District National Park and area ranger, Graham Standring, has welcomed police support, saying the deteriorating situation and wanton damage has to be stopped.[/em] This is the De forested mined out – post industrial stuff we call nature? I have to say that my feeling about access or lack of to motorised vehicles is not positive – It’ll be mountain bikers next – Look at the Sierra club in America and how much more restrictive land access is there for Mountian bikes.. Nearly all of the worse “erosion” in the Lakes is by walkers!

  5. These areas are protected for a reason. 4x4s and mountainbikes riding on footpaths and through protected areas ruins the countryside for other users and generations to come. As for the stupid comment about nature just being “De forested mined out – post industrial stuff we call nature?” is very short sighted as if we go back a few hundred years, the percentage of forestation in the UK was 1000s of % higher. we did the damage by mining and cutting the wood, much like is now happening in the rain forests. we have to protect what we have left. Lowland heath is a largely man-made environment, but many species such as the Dartford Warbler have evolved to live there and there only, so the slightest bit of damage could finish them off.
    Where i work, we have given up reporting vehicles for off road driving, as this only gets them a £30 spot fine and possibly a few points.
    We have realised that most of them have illegal plates in the windows and no tax disk. both these offenses carry a £1000 fine and possible confiscation of the vehicle. so we now just photograph the 4x4s, pop into the local nic and bob’s your uncle, another cretin off the hill!

  6. mountainbikes riding on footpaths and through protected areas ruins the countryside for other users and generations to come.

    Your evidence being?

  7. note the article doesn’t mention mountainbikes

    That said, there is a big difference between motorbikes/4x4s using a path and mountainbikes doing the same. The level of damage isn’t even in the same order of magnitude.

    A mountianbike, ridden skillfully and considerately, should cause little more damage than a walker, but even ridden like a complete muppet could not come close to the scars caused by offroad motor vehicles.

    That’s the difference, even if legally there may be none, which is why I suspect they’ve carefully left cycling out of their sights in this article.

Comments are closed.