As an advocacy group for mountain biking across the Military Lands, TAG has a simple goal: To ensure cyclists have the right to use the lands for responsible recreation when said lands are not in use by the military.
This can be achieved in two ways: By the Commanding Officer granting such permission, or by a review of the Byelaw.
TAG have been given notice by Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) that the timeline is now in place for the Aldershot and District Military Lands Byelaws for the following areas:
- Aldershot Long Valley
- Aldershot Garrison
- Hawley, Minley and Camberley
- Pirbright Camp, Ash Ranges and Bisley Ranges.
All remaining areas of military land in the area will be subject to a separate byelaw, and work will commence on that area as soon as the new byelaws have been made.
DIO will be drafting the new laws before putting them out for public consultation. From the documents supplied there is no indication if interested parties and stakeholders will have any say on what the byelaws actually say before the public get their chance to raise objections.
Public consultation is scheduled to begin in June 2019 and the new byelaw is expected to be signed into law by February 2020.
This is an opportunity for the community to ensure the lands remain open to everyone when training is not underway. It is likely the byelaws governing the lands will not be reviewed for another 40 years so it is vital they maintain, enhance and reflect exactly how the public wish to use them.
Other military land byelaws have been reviewed and cycling has become a permitted form of recreation. This is within MOD’s own guidelines. TAG expect nothing less than full access for cyclists in the Aldershot and Longmoor areas too.
We shall be preparing a full response in due course, but in the meantime it is vital that we have as much support as possible from local MPs and councillors, who can bring influence and pressure on DIO to finally recognise their own guidance and policy documents. It is therefore vital we have representation that is supportive to the cycling community. TAG will be seeking and publishing the views of every candidate on this subject in the forthcoming local elections.
Remember, this is close to once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set the laws fairly for all. We have much to gain.