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Off-road motorbikes cause damage to Slieau Dhoon

Fri, 24 Jan 2020

DEFA headquarters in St Johns
DEFA headquarters in St Johns

IOM Government is reminding those who use off-road motorbikes illegally in the countryside of the byelaws ban.


It follows extensive damage found to an area of peat land at Slieau Dhoo near Kirk Michael.


Manx byelaws ban the use of vehicles on Government land without prior permission, with anyone caught illegally driving or riding on it facing prosecution and a £1,000 fine.


Geoffrey Boot MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture said: ‘The irresponsible and illegal access has caused major damage to important upland. It has clearly been caused by off-road motorbikes using the area as a playground.’


The importance of protecting and restoring such land is a priority of the Department, as upland peat soils are the Island’s largest carbon store.


The deep rutting caused by off-road riders illegally using such sites causes the peat to dry and release stored carbon back into the atmosphere. 


Damage to the slow-growing upland vegetation will also lead to erosion and the further loss of stored carbon.


Last year, the Isle of Man Government sanctioned 32 motorcycle events on Government-owned plantations and quarries and many more are planned for 2020. 


Mr Boot said the Department will continue to work in partnership with the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) and the police to address the issue.


PC Claire Sproule-Craine, Isle of Man Constabulary Wildlife Crime Officer, said: ‘This damage is detrimental to our environment and I cannot stress how important it is to adhere to rules set in place to protect these areas. 


‘Moving forward we will work closely with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture to police our green lanes and ensure that the public is using these in a legal and safe manner and not straying on to areas which are prohibited to vehicle use.’


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