A number of illegal off-road motorbikes have been spotted on Marsden Moor this weekend. (19th and 20th February).
Members of the public reported seeing motorbikes in the Wessenden Valley, on Holme Moor and near Pule Hill.
Using motorbikes and vehicles on Marsden Moor is illegal, as it is a protected site of special scientific interest (SSSI). These incidents have been reported to the police. The damage caused by these motorbikes can take hundreds of years to undo, as vehicle tyres often expose and erode the peat. This can affect things like flood risk, fire risk and climate change, as exposed peat cannot store carbon. It’s also a crucial time for wildlife and ground nesting birds, with curlew, lapwing and skylark all spotted on the moors over the weekend. They can easily be disturbed by the noise of motorbikes and, in the worst case scenario, the heat from exhausts can cause moorland fires.
Craig Best, countryside manager for the National Trust, said, “Unfortunately, it seems offroad vehicles using the moors is becoming a recurring issue. We have increased our ranger patrols and are working closely with West Yorkshire Police and responsible organisations like GLASS to help educate riders.” “These individuals who chose to ignore the rules are putting wildlife and their habitats at risk. As we approach spring, when we have many ground nesting birds, these motorbikes can also cause moorland fires. These incidents have a huge environmental and financial impact, and undo the countless volunteer hours and money spent restoring this landscape.”
He added “We’re really grateful to the public who reported these incidents to the police this weekend, as our ranger team rely on this information.”
These incidents should be reported to West Yorkshire Police, by calling 101 or visiting https://www.westyorkshire.police.uk/form/report-nuisance-bikes