Thanks to the wonderful Kate Goodall at Walsall Council, I’m finally able to heap my praise on the people who’s been gradually improving the anti-vehicle barriers on the old railway line at Engine Lane, Brownhills. That area of the common has been plagued by illegal offloading for years, and its incidence ebbs and flows. It’s a hard area to seal off, but I’m liking the latest measures a lot.
For people who don’t realise, this activity may be fun, but it’s illegal, it scares the wildlife – not least the deer – and really, really annoys the landowners, cyclists and walkers who are all using the land legally. Scrambling here has destroyed the quality of the tracks, which in winter turn to muddy slurry. Sadly, few of those who partake of the activity seem to appreciate the selfishness of it.
The following video was captured by bike-cam on the 23rd of October 2011:
Kate obtained the following press release for me… I think I owe her another beer.
Partnership working at its best to tackle Brownhills off-road bikers
Police officers, residents, local businesses, the Area Partnership and Walsall Council have worked together to tackle off road bikers who were causing a problem in Brownhills.
The community decided to take action to deal with the ongoing issue of off road bikes being ridden on the Common and land off Engine Lane, which is situated off the main Chester Road (A5) Brownhills.
Brownhills, Rushall, Pelsall and Shelfield Area Partnership has helped to fund the installation of concrete rings to stop the bikers from accessing the land. Since the rings were installed two weeks ago, police say there have been no reports of the bikers causing a nuisance.
Walsall Council’s Street Pride team installed the rings, along with help from local residents and businesses who helped in the transportation of the 1m long deterrents.
Police in Brownhills have also been operating a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach and have been prosecuting people for riding vehicles on the land to help put a stop to the noise, nuisance and damage caused to local land by off road bikes.
Sgt Hawley from Brownhills Police said: “This had been a problem for some time so the community decided to work together to install the concrete rings. Lots of people helped – from the local farmer who used his tractor to transport the rings, to the Partnership who supplied the funding and the One Stop Stores Ltd who also used some of their community funding.
“Since the rings were installed the problem seems to have gone away which we are absolutely delighted about,” he added.
Mini motorbikes, or mini-motos, are not approved for road use so can only legally be driven on private land with the permission of the landowner.
Many mini-moto owners do not realise this and are using them unlawfully on common land and public roads.
Some off-road bikes are road-legal but should still not be used on pavements or park areas.
Steve Alexander, maintenance manager at One Stop Stores Ltd on Apex Road, said they also decided to help out after they were approached by the land owners of the farm at the back of the head office about problems they were having with off road vehicles who were using land owned by One Stop Stores to access the farm land.
He said: “We looked at the options and decided that we would install some concrete rings at the base of the land to stop the 4×4 vehicles getting on. This proved successful and the larger vehicles moved on but there was still the issue with the motorbikes. I was then contacted by Sgt Hawley from Brownhills Police Station about the bike issue so we met up and discussed what else we could do to resolve this issue. We decided to install more concrete rings and this has now hopefully completely resolved the issue.”
Councillor Zahid Ali, cabinet member for communities and partnerships at Walsall Council, said: “This issue was a real problem for residents as the bikers were causing a nuisance and were a potential danger for those who lived nearby.
“It is great to hear of organisations working together with the local community to tackle these sort of issues,” he added.