JOHN Healey has backed a call for off-road bikers to need licences like taxi drivers in the battle against their misuse.
The Wentworth & Dearne MP is supporting the idea from South Yorkshire’s four council leaders, police commissioner Dr Alan Billings and regional mayor Dan Jarvis.
The potentially-national licensing scheme would mean owners having to apply for permission to own and use the bikes in order to strengthen the enforcement powers and reduce anti-social behaviour.
It would also allow those needing the vehicles for legitimate purposes, such as farming or sport, to continue to ride.
Mr Healey said: “This has been a problem in our area, and elsewhere, for many years but has worsened during the pandemic.
“In the constituency, I am fighting to protect a much-loved green space at Silverwood Nature Reserve, where drivers of off-road vehicles are causing damage, anti-social behaviour and threatening wildlife.
“In another area, Manvers, I’ve been working for months to try and stop quads and off-road bikes tearing up footpaths, the Trans Pennine Trail and the golf course.”
There had been similar problems elsewhere in his constituency, Mr Healey said, which was impacting on council resources and police time as well as causing intimidation and disturbance for the public.
“Stricter conditions around ownership and use should now be brought, giving police adequate powers to seize vehicles being used illegally.” Mr Healey said in a letter to home secretary Priti Patel.
“A new system of licensing would determine that the vehicle is owned for a legitimate purpose — for work or sport, for example — and specify where the vehicle could be used.
“Police could seize unlicensed vehicles or those being driven illegally and dispose of them.”
Mr Healey called for a meeting with the home secretary to discuss the idea.