It's early days and a small step but Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs has just published a short but positive article in response the for Trails4wales campaign ran by Cycling-UK and OpenMTB quite recently. This campaign was very successful as it led to the biggest response to a consultation the Welsh Government have had, with more responses than consultations on Nurses and the NHS. Almost 5800 responses to the consultation were received.
Titled "Written Statement - Improving Opportunities to Access the Outdoors for Recreation" It lays out a framework to take the finding forward. The key statements to highlight are:
“Wales needs a better and fairer approach to public access for outdoor recreation which is less burdensome to administer, provides for the wide range of activities people want to participate in, with sensible safeguards for land management activities. I intend to develop proposals for consultation on how the current laws could be improved.
“For these reasons I will consult on proposals for making improvements in three key areas:
1) Achieving consistency in the opportunities available for participation in different activities and how activities are restricted and regulated
2) Simplifying and harmonising procedures for designating and recording public access
3) Improving existing advisory forums and how access rights and responsibilities are communicated to all interests."
This comes at a really interesting time for mountain biking as in the last few days the same organisations Cycling UK, with off-road advocacy group, OpenMTB have also published their report “Rides of Way: Cycling UK’s Off-Road Report 2017”. This report provides unique insight into the current off-road cycling scene based on an impressive 11,482 responses.
Its key findings show that 74% consider the current Rights of Way unsuitable and so reinforces how important it is that Wales (and then hopefully England next) look to emulate a similar set up the Scotland already enjoys.
To give some more context it goes on to explain what the top priority for advocacy is in the UK.
Both pieces of work times perfectly together is a fantastic piece of work and give real insight and clout to our cycling organisations. Now is the time to get behind and support them. You can check them out here: