Biking to be Stopped in Wheal Maid

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Biking to be Stopped in Wheal Maid

Posted: 23/01/2007 19:41:46

Cornwall County Council, with support from the Police, Carrick District Council and Gwennap Parish Council, is implementing plans to stop scramble bikes causing damage to part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site at Wheal Maid, near Carharrack.

The valley by Gwennap Parish Council, which was once a tailings dam for Wheal Jane, has important 19th Century mining remains and has been used by off-road bikers for some years. Many bikers who use the valley, especially at weekends, feel that they have a right to use the area, although legally this is not the case.

With World Heritage Site Inscription by UNESO last July the situation has radically changed. The damage caused to the mining heritage by scramble bikes has been deemed unacceptable by the authorities. A continuation of current activities could have a detrimental affect on inscription.

Cornwall County Council is involved as bikers are entering the valley across County Council land and is fencing off the whole valley to stop illegal entrance. The fencing will leave only 2 vehicular access points at either end of the valley, although access from definite footpaths will be accommodated for. Once completed in mid February, the police and the County Council will be in a position to tackle any use by bikers.

"In the interests of World Heritage Site Inscription, it is essential that the authorities take action in a co-ordinated way" said Mike Hawkey, Head of Environment and Heritage at the County Council. "Whilst some will feel aggrieved at the Police and County Council preventing them enjoying themselves, in the wider interests of the mining heritage of Council current biking activities have to stop."

Much work is being done by the County Council to provide legitimate sites for bikers to go. This is backed by Adam Paynter, (Lib Dem) , the County Council's Executive Member for Environment and Heritage, who said "The County Council is doing all it can to provide legitimate places for off-road bikers."

"Negotiations with landowners have been encouraging but obtaining the necessary planning permissions is not at all easy. However we fully recognise that if we are going to prevent the illegal use of sensitive areas alternative sites must be found."

The County Council is actively working with the police and biking organisations to resolve the problems.


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