MPs battle to save South Yorkshire nature reserve from off-road bikers

A South Yorkshire MP says he has been “fighting to protect a much-loved green space” where off-road bikers are causing damage.

Wednesday, 5th May 2021, 11:42 am

John Healey, MP for Wentworth and Dearne, says drivers of off-road vehicles are causing damage, anti-social behaviour and threatening wildlife at Silverwood Nature Reserve.

A similar problem exists in Manvers, where Mr Healey says off-road bikes are “tearing up footpaths, the Trans Pennine Trail and the golf course.”

Mr Healey says anti-social behaviour and crime linked to off-road motorbikes and quads has been a problem in the area for “many years” – but has worsened during the pandemic.

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There is concern about off-road bikers causing issues at a nature reserve.

He has called for a new system of vehicle licensing, which would determine that the vehicle is owned for a legitimate purpose – for work or sport, for example – and specify where the vehicle could be used. Police could seize unlicensed vehicles or those being driven illegally and dispose of them.

South Yorkshire Police and has already set up a dedicated off-road motorbike team, but are limited by current legislation which means that if the owner of a seized vehicle pays a recovery fee they simply get their vehicle back.

Mr Healey, as well as the leaders of the four councils in South Yorkshire, South Yorkshire Mayor and Dr Alan Billings, police and crime commissioner have written to the Home Secretary calling for a new approach to the anti-social behaviour and crime linked to off-road motorbikes and quads.

The long-standing MP has also set up a survey for residents to give their views on off-road biking, which can be found here: https://www.johnhealeymp.co.uk/off-road-quad-bike-survey/