On Friday the Islwyn MP joined the friends of Nant Gwyddon Forest and representatives from Gwent Police to see first-hand the damage caused to the landscape by off-road bikers.
Mr Evans heard about the extent of off-road biking in the area; with some days seeing as many as 20 off road bikers. The level of activity has caused anger and frustration in the community.
The visit takes place before Mr Evans will present a petition signed by over 100 Abercarn residents to Parliament on 1st December. The Islwyn MP has been working to secure debate on the issue of illegal off road bikes in Parliament and to strengthen the powers of the police to tackle this issue.
During a walk the friends of the forest shared their concerns about the impact of off-road biking on wildlife. Members have noticed over the last few years a dramatic decrease in species numbers that were once numerous in the valley such as Toads and Herons with some species completely disappearing such as Kingfishers, Newts and even Otters.
However, the impact of illegal off-road biking is not just on the landscape it is also affecting residents. There are often reports of anti-social behaviour and excessive noise alongside those of illegal off-road biking.
Chris Evans MP said ‘This is a huge problem right across the countryside, across the South Wales valleys, the North of England, anywhere there are mountains or large areas of countryside.
‘This is having an affect on both residents and the landscape. I will continue to raise this issue in Parliament because it is clear at the moment the police do not have the power to tackle these destructive off road bikers.’
Friends of Nant Gwyddon said ‘we don’t just want to address off road vehicles. We would like to reinstate footpaths, improve the picnic area, create local walks and runs and see the forest replenished after the mass felling to remove larch trees infected with Phytophthora Ramorum.’
‘The Friends of would like to encourage more local people to use this beautiful local asset. We feel the more ownership there is locally, the less likely off roaders will come.’