Record numbers sign up to support Trails for Wales
Cube, Giant, Greenover Sports, Howies, Raleigh, Silverfish, Storck, Swift Carbon, Trek, and Whyte have all just announced their support for the campaign, as it is reported the Welsh Government consultation into open access has received more responses from cyclists than any other interest group.
Trails for Wales is the rallying cry for the UK’s leading cycle bodies as they respond to the Welsh Government’s consultation “Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation”, which runs until Friday 2 October, and calls for open access to the rights of way network as enjoyed by Scotland.
The campaign hopes to follow in the footsteps of the greater access rights that have existed in Scotland since 2003. Increased mountain bike access benefits the Scottish economy by £46.5 million a year, with indirect expenditure of up to £119 million, and generates over 1,300 jobs.
As the campaign winds down to its 2 October deadline, over 3,600 off-road and mountain bike enthusiasts have written to the Welsh Government in support of “Trails for Wales”. This high level of engagement is reportedly the most the Welsh Government has ever had with the off-road cycling community.
Trails for Wales has enjoyed a huge ground swell of support from all types of cyclists and now the cycle industry has signed up too.
Gwenda Owen, CTC Trails for Wales Campaigner
CTC’s Trails for Wales Campaigner, Gwenda Owen, said:
“The Welsh Government has confirmed they’ve heard the off-road community’s call for increased responsible access, which proves what can happen when cyclists come together for a common cause.
“It’s too soon to celebrate at such an early stage in the consultation process, but CTC is confident we can achieve our collective goal of opening Trails for Wales for everyone’s enjoyment.”
The coalition of cycle groups is calling on everyone to write to the Welsh Government in support of its response, and can do so through a simple online tool.
Notes to editors
- For further information on CTC, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone: www.ctc.org.uk
- OpenMTB has been formed to act co-operatively on behalf of organisations on issues that concern mountain bikers, such as improved access rights, user group consultations, trail improvement and maintenance etc. Early in 2015 representatives from a number of mountain bike associations met journalists and industry experts from across England and Wales to see how they could work together for the benefit of our community. In the past it has been difficult for governing bodies to consult our diverse community due to the lack of a single point of contact, and OpenMTB was formed as a result. www.facebook.com/OpenMTB / www.twitter.com/OpenMTB
- Trails for Wales is also supported by British Cycling and Welsh Cycling: https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/mtb/article/20150902-mountain-bike-Br…
- Figures on the economic benefits of mountain biking for Scotland are from the report The Economic Benefit of Mountain Biking in Scotland http://www.tourism-intelligence.co.uk/develop-your-business/research-su…
- The Welsh Government’s consultation “Improving opportunities to access the outdoors for responsible recreation” can be found in English at: http://gov.wales/consultations/environmentandcountryside/improving-oppo…; and Welsh at: http://gov.wales/consultations/environmentandcountryside/improving-oppo…
- Following the Land Reform Act 2003 Scotland enjoys ‘presumed access’. This means there is a presumption of “responsible access”, subject to exemptions laid out in the Outdoor Access Code (eg forestry operations). Consequently, Scottish off-road and leisure cycle tourism are booming and contribute between £236.2m and £358m a year.
- Currently in Wales the Rights of Way system is based upon recorded historic use of routes instead of suitability. As a result, cyclists have rights to use just 21% of the network, with permission to ride along narrow rocky sheep tracks on steep ground but denied access to thousands of miles of public footpaths lying on metalled farm and forest roads. Recent research indicates that outdoor activity in Wales contributes to nearly 10% of the Welsh tourist economy. The group argues that changes to countryside access within Wales could dramatically increase this figure, thereby offering more social, transport, recreational and health benefits for both residents and visitors to the country.
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