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Protecting Byways

The Surrey Hills Byways Working Group are actively working in partnership to help protect the Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) in the Surrey Hills. BOATs are occasionally used by off-road vehicles being driven illegally which in some cases can cause damage to barriers and historic boundary banks. At times there is conflict with other users such as walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
When Off Road motorised vehicles are driven unlawfully or inconsiderately, they have a major impact on the environment and on the enjoyment of the Surrey Hills by others. Illegal off road escapades through the woods and commons of this designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) can create serious tension between landowners and users, especially when new tracks are carved out on private land. The Surrey Hills Byways Working group finds it necessary to remind some users of the seriousness of this problem and it works in partnership with responsible user organisations such as the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) to ensure the consequences are well understood.
One recent initiative of the group is the renewal of signage across BOATs in the Surrey Hills to inform users of the need to negotiate the tracks with care, to respect the rights of other users and to report unlawful activity to Surrey Police.

Councillor David Wright, Chairman of the Byways Working Group comments;
“The Surrey Hills Byways Working Group consists of off-road enthusiasts, conservationists, landowners and the Police. We work in partnership to protect BOATs in the Surrey Hills for all users. The latest edition of our signage has kindly been jointly funded and installed by the Trail Riders Fellowship. We hope it will continue to remind users of their responsibilities when enjoying the natural beauty of the Surrey Hills”.
Brian Cohen, Right of Way representative for the Trail Riders Fellowship comments;
“The Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) is delighted to be working in partnership with the Surrey Hills Byways Working Group to encourage all users of BOATs in the Surrey Hills to access them in a responsible and considerate way. The TRF encourages all members to respect the countryside and understand that Green Roads are valuable ancient routes, for all users, and to this end we are happy to have contributed to the funding and placement of the new signage, and continue to promote the shared and legal use of these Green Roads in a responsible manner, in partnership with the Surrey Hills AONB Board ”

For further information on the Surrey Hills Byways Working group visit http://www.surreyhills.org/board/off-road/

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