Welsh Cycling, CTC - the national cycling charity, British Cycling and Open MTB have joined forces to issue a response to the Welsh Government’s consultation to call for an overhaul in how countryside access is managed across the country.
The group urged the Welsh Government to follow the example set by Scotland’s Land Reform Act, where greater access has galvanised the rural economy.
Recent research indicates that outdoor activity in Wales contributes to nearly 10% of the Welsh economy.
The group argues that changes to countryside access within Wales has the potential to dramatically increase this figure, while simultaneously offering more social, transport, recreational, health and wellbeing benefits for both residents and visitors to the country.
The consultation remains open to both residents and visitors to Wales with the opportunity to help improve mountain biking and off-road cycling throughout the country.
The consultation sought views on reducing the cost of looking after public paths, how to better meet current and future recreational needs, and ways to tackle some of the difficulties in extending access to more of society, beyond those who are already enthusiasts.
Welsh Cycling's national development manager, Georgina Harper, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Wales. It will boost opportunities to access Wales’ stunning countryside, bring economic gains through tourism, and be a step towards a healthier and more active nation. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the outdoors or mountain biking to respond to the proposals before the October deadline”.
British Cycling’s mountain bike leadership manager, Dan Cook, said: “We’ve considered our response to these proposals very carefully and are pleased to publish our findings.
“We are very supportive of the ideas put forward by the Welsh Government and hope to work closely with them to ensure this potentially important work is handled effectively, takes account of the changes to recreational use since mountain biking has developed, and goes on to benefits the right people.
“Similar change in Scotland has proved to be very successful and there is no reason that this can’t be replicated in Wales in the near future as a result of this consultation, and then potentially in England in the coming years.”
View a summary of the organisations responses.
If you would like to join British Cycling in responding to the consultation