Farmers’ leaders have welcomed the setting up of an enforcement team to tackle illegal off-roading, fly-tipping, and other countryside crime in Mid Wales.
The initiative means a police Land Rover and two motorbikes will be deployed to tackle a rapidly growing problem, which is infuriating farmers in an area extending to more than 2000 square miles.
The unit has been created by Powys Community Safety Partnership (CSP) which comprises representatives from Dyfed Powys police, Powys county council, Brecon Beacons National Park, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission.
A Farmers Union of Wales spokesman said farmers welcomed the scheme and had supported an earlier venture. A pilot scheme in neighbouring Rhondda Cynon Taf had been well supported by farmers and was a success.
Estyn James, NFU Cymru Brecon and Radnor County Chairman added, “NFU Cymru welcomes the creation of the new enforcement team. The rural community has increasing concerns about illegal off-roading, which not only causes worry and distress to livestock but can cause significant damage to land.”
CSP chairman Graham Brown said: “Powys has tremendous landscape assets, from the dramatic mountains of the Brecon Beacons National Park and the rolling hills of Radnor Forest to the Berwyn Mountains in the north, but our landscape is being blighted by illegal off-roading and countryside crime.
“The creation of this enforcement team is a pro-active approach in tackling the problems caused by this illegal activity and to ensure that everyone can enjoy our wonderful landscape in a safe way.”
A spokesman added that the aim in the case of off-roaders was primarily to educate people. If they persisted in using illegal tracks then enforcement would be used. And he said there were possible diversification opportunities for farmers and landowners who wanted to provide off road tracks for bikers and four-wheel drivers.