Off-road motorcycle riders banned from The Desert in Mansfield

Councillors in Mansfield have agreed unanimously to enforce a ban of off-road motorcycles from The Desert, just outside Sherwood Forest.

The Desert, Mansfield. - Google Maps

Dirt bikes have been banned from an area on the edges of Sherwood Forest in Mansfield called “The Desert.”

The Desert, just outside Mansfield and on the edge of Sherwood Forest, is regarded as a beauty spot, but off-road motorcycle riders have become what Nottinghamshire Police describe as a “nuisance.”

To combat this, Mansfield District Council has expanded its already-existing Public Spaces and Protection Order (PSPO) to include The Desert, which will initially be off-limits for dirt bike riders from 2022 to 2025.

The expansion of the PSPO comes after a six-week public consultation carried out by Mansfield District Council, and means that police can enforce the banning of off-road motorcycles from The Desert in numerous ways. This includes being able to disperse groups of off-road riders in the area, and seizing their motorcycles; as well as prosecution and fines of up to £100.

Inspector Kylie Davies, Nottinghamshire Police district commander for Mansfield, said: “People who drive and ride off-road vehicles illegally in our parks and other green spaces are not only a nuisance; they are also a considerable danger to other members of the public and to themselves.

“There are many things we already do to tackle this selfish and antisocial behaviour, including seizing bikes when people are behaving in an antisocial way.

“This new protection order will make it easier for us to do this by giving us the power to order riders away from the area – regardless of how they are behaving. If people don’t comply then we will seize their bikes.

“Our off road team will maintain a regular presence in the area in the coming weeks and months to enforce the law and gather evidence against those who continue to ride illegally.”

The expansion of the PSPO comes after a consultation conducted by Mansfield District Council which began in June of this year, and the confirmation of the PSPO expansion was confirmed on 21 September, with “unanimous,” according to Mansfield District Council, approval of councillors. 

Mansfield District Council also said it is working with other councils who have jurisdiction over other parts of the land to work in unison against off-road bikers. 

Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Mansfield District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities said: “The behaviour of off-roaders at The Desert has been raised by residents as a cause for concern for some time, and the landowners and police are fully supportive of the council's proposals in the new PSPO.

“We are working with Newark and Sherwood District Council, who are responsible for part of the land, to see if we can take a united approach on tackling the off-roader problem.

“The council works closely with our partners to assess the use of PSPO offences and their current relevance, and to actively consider and consult with the public if changes are needed.”

The banning of dirt bike riders from The Desert was not just in response to concern of other people, such as those on foot, but also to concern for wildlife in the area.

Cllr Bradshaw said: “As well as being an obvious danger to people on foot, these vehicles also cause much danger and disturbance to the wildlife in the area. Now, with the approval of this order, it can be given a chance to flourish.”

Lead image courtesy of Google Maps.

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