MINISTER PREPARED TO TALK.
June 21 2004. Lembit Öpik - MP for Montgomeryshire and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Motorcycle Group - has expressed optimism following a meeting with Alun Michael, Minister of State for DeFRA, and a delegation from the All Party Group for Motorcycling to discuss Rights of Way for motorcycles.

Lembit said: "Alun Michael called for Rights of Way organisations and representative groups to engage in reasonable discussion with DEFRA as the department continues to develop a way forward on the vexed issue of Rights of Way management.

"It's a fair offer. Our delegation, which included representatives from the Motorcycle Industry Association, the Motorcycle Action Group and the British Motorcycle Federation, is keen to open that dialogue. I think it will lead to a good and sensible development of DeFRA's proposals.

"What's crucial now is that that biking organisations don't squander this chance to make an input. That's because there are only two ways this debate can go. Either we cooperate with the Minister, by making a constructive contribution, and showing a willingness to look creatively at solutions to the problems of noise and intrusion, which clearly exist. Or, alternatively, we can refuse to play a part. In that case, I'm pretty sure the Government will impose a solution without our contribution."

Craig Carey-Clinch, MCI Director of Public Affairs said "It now seems clear that the Minister is willing to engage in the issues which affect industry and riders. MCI seeks active dialogue with the Minister and his officials in order to develop a package of measures for rights of way which answers concerns in rural communities, while maintaining a fair and equitable approach to legal and responsible motorcycling on rights of way. MCI encourages rights of way representative groups to join this process, in partnership with industry and other user groups."