DEFRA MINISTER TO MEET OFF-ROAD GROUPS
April 29 2004. Lembit √Ėpik MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Motorcycling (APG), has secured a meeting with Alun Michael MP, the Minister of State at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (DeFRA) to discuss a way forward for off-road motorcycling in the countryside.

Lembit said "DeFRA had previously issued a consultation document which sought to define new arrangements for use of rural rights of way by motorised two wheelers. I've been worried that these plans could be overly restrictive, because they may restrict the rights of the responsible many to stop the actions of the irresponsible few. In addition, the proposals would
impact heavily on future access rights for legal and responsibly used motorcycles on rights of way. The meeting with the minister is therefore very important, and will include representatives from the key motorcycling organisations.

"However we have to recognise, this is our last chance to find a solution without having one imposed upon bikers. So we have to be responsibl, and come up with proposals which Alun Michael can take seriously".

The meeting is likely to take place in mid-June. In the run up to it, Lembit will work with other members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Motorcycling and biking organisations to put together a workable plan which fits the concerns of non-bike users as well as riders.

"It's now or never to get the Government to listen. We mustn't let this chance slip by through stubbornness or confrontation. Mr Michael will listen if we work together. He'll probably listen to the others if we don't."