Motor Vehicle Users Face Ridgeway Ban
Yippee! At last! There may be peace and quiet for the walkers, bicyclists and horse riders who use the Ridgeway...
From the Oxford Times, Thursday 10 July 2003
Laws banning motor vehicles from the Ridgeway national trail may come into force if a conservation project to repair the damage they have caused fails.
The Government is considering barring four-wheel-drive vehicles, motor cycles and quad bikes from the historic 85-mile trail next year, if a national trails improvement scheme is unsuccessful.
Liberal Democrat and Conservative MPs called for the Government to agree to introduce a ban if the project fails.
But Tony McNulty, parliamentary under secretary of state for transport, said the project needed to be given a chance.
The Countryside Agency has pledged to restore and improve the national trails, including the Ridgeway, which runs across south Oxfordshire.
About £1m is also being sought by the Oxford-based National Trails Office to repair stretches of the route, with support from Oxfordshire County Council.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr McNulty said: "If the Countryside Agency's management plan and the work of local authorities do not produce results within 12 months, the Government is committed to consider promoting a ban."
A section of the Railways and Transport Safety Bill is likely to be amended to include the possible ban. It was scheduled for discussion in the House of Lords on July 10.
Lord Bill Bradshaw, who lives in Wallingford, was expected to be among supporters.
Don Foster, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, who was among those calling for the amendment, said the Government must ensure the issue was taken seriously.
Peter Gauld, secretary of Friends of the Ridgeway, which has campaigned for vehicles to be banned, said: "I would be pleased to see this amendment go through."
In April, county councillors from the three main parties supported a motion to ban vehicles.
The executive board was asked to use traffic regulation orders to protect sections of the route, which are advertised on websites for four-wheel-drive enthusiasts.
Posted by Jane
10th July 2003ce
Edited 26th January 2004ce