Top cycling bodies met with Welsh Assembly Members to voice their support for CTC, the national cycling charity, and Open MTB’s campaign Trails for Wales, on 23rd September 2015 at Roald Dahl Plass just outside the Senedd in Cardiff.
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 2 October, and call 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 now exist 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.
Since the campaign started on 1 September, over 2,600 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. Recent signatories include world down-hill champion Tracy Moseley and Scottish adventurer Mark Beaumont.
CTC and Open MTB are calling for all outdoor enthusiasts to support their campaign Trails for Wales, which they can do atwww.ctc.org.uk/campaign/trails-wales
John Griffiths AM for Newport East said:
“Responsible access is a clear way to ensure that the most people get the most enjoyment out of our beloved Welsh countryside, which is why I’m supporting CTC and Open MTB’s call of Trails for Wales.
“The benefits of Trails for Wales are manifold. Responsible access will be an added boon to Wales’ booming tourism industry, and will help to encourage a more active and healthier Welsh population.”
Emyr Davies, Welsh downhill mountain bike champion said:
“Trails for Wales will enable the much needed changes to open up off-road racing in Wales. It’s a growth sport in Wales, despite current restrictions. If managed right to prevent conflict, Trails for Wales will help inspire the next generation of Welsh cyclists and attract thousands through tourism.”
CTC’s Trails for Wales Campaigner, Gwenda Owen, said:
“Wales has been an off road cycling hub for years but there are still so many more trails out there that are currently not open to cyclists but could be.
“By opening up rights of way for cyclists, Wales could become an even better off road destination.
“We have seen in Scotland just how much more money cycling tourism can bring to rural economies, so to have the support of big hitters in the cycling industry, helps to show how serious business takes this opportunity for economic growth.”
Mark Beaumont said:
“I would love to see the Scottish Outdoor Access Code which allows a right to roam for all non-motorised vehicles to be adopted across the UK, and it is fantastic to see the Welsh Government open to consultation on this, which would allow mountain bikers the freedom to explore freely, as long as they respect the land, its farming and any areas of conservation.”
The coalition of cycle groups are calling on everyone to write to the Welsh Government in support of their response, and can do so through a simple online tool at: http://e-activist.com/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1689&ea.campaign.id=41461&ea.tracking.id=PR
For more information, visit www.ctc.org.uk. Trail