The ACU is warning motorcyclists that use Port Talbot’s Aberavon Beach for practice could be taken to court for illegal riding and be banned from races.
Scores of riders from as far afield as Cornwall, Ipswich and Bolton have been stopped by the Police on the Welsh beach.
Riders are using its long stretch of sand and dunes at the western edge and are not only destroying the dune formations they are also posing a serious hazard to walkers and other beach users.
South Wales Police’s Local Policing Inspector Dean Evans said: “Off-road bikes in prohibited areas are an issue for our communities and we are working together with other agencies to address and educate people about the dangers and environmental consequences.
“We will continue this work to maintain the natural beauty of the area for all to enjoy for many more years.”
Neath Port Talbot Councillor Peter Richards, who represents the Baglan ward and who, with colleagues, has received numerous complaints about motorcyclists using the beach, said: “We want this despoiling of our wonderful beach and dunes to end now and we’d like anyone witnessing illegal motorcycling to report what they have seen.”
Competition motorcycling unions have also condemned the activities of irresponsible riders and have made it clear they will impose sanctions on those caught.
“As the Governing body for motorcycle sport in England and Wales, the ACU supports Neath Port Talbot Council and South Wales Police in this matter and if member riders are successfully prosecuted for illegal riding they risk having their competition licences suspended.,” said Chairman of the ACU, Roy Humphrey.
Suzanne Potts, General Manager of the Amateur Motor Cycle Association (AMCA) added: “We stand alongside the ACU in endorsing the action being taken in combatting the illegal practising going on at Aberavon Beach. We will uphold any action taken against riders by the ACU.”
Neath Port Talbot Council’s Countryside and Wildlife team is concerned over the illegal motorcycling because of safety issues for visitors, damage to dunes (caused by damage to vegetation which anchors the dunes) and also because the Wales Coast Path runs through the site.
Attempts have been made by the team to try to block access to motorcycles. The team has also put up signage making it clear the use of the site by bikes is illegal.
Cllr Richards, also Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Health, added: “Use of the bikes on the dunes is a serious health and safety issue. We’ve had numerous complaints to us over the years and we report it to the police where we have direct knowledge of bikes there and we encourage the public to report incidents themselves.
“In addition to the obvious health and safety issues, the bikes are having a negative impact on the dune habitat. It’s gone much too far and it’s completely bare of vegetation in some areas.”
Illegal riding at Aberavon Beach is an ongoing issue that’s been a problem since the noughties and it’s coming from a mix of skill levels. “We have found riders who have travelled from across Britain to use Aberavon Beach. Some of them are motocross champions who are competing in events across the world,” PC Ranford told Wales Online.
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