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Nature reserves in Dudley South

Volume 638: debated on Thursday 29 March 2018

The petition of residents of Dudley South,

Declares that Barrow Hill and Buckpool & Fens Pool Nature Reserves, including the Dingle and the Leys, are being blighted by the actions of motorcyclists and quadbikers who have no regard for the local environment, residents and wildlife, are causing damage to the reserve and are causing a nuisance.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to work with Dudley Council, West Midlands Police and other authorities, to take immediate action to safeguard our nature reserves; further that Dudley Council should create a Public Space Protection Order as set out in the Antisocial Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014; further that, by using this power and taking action against offenders, Dudley Council and West Midlands Police will be able to reduce the negative impact current behaviour has on local residents and wilder wildlife.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Mike Wood, Official Report, 28 February 2018; Vol. 636, c. 929.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Victoria Atkins):

The Government recognise the importance of protecting our public spaces, including nature reserves, from those who would seek to damage them or otherwise cause nuisance in them. There are existing powers that can be used by Dudley Council and West Midlands police to help them to do this.

First, the police have the power under section 59 of the Police Reform Act 2002 to seize vehicles, including motorcycles where they are being used in a careless and inconsiderate manner, contrary to the Road Traffic Act 1988, and in a manner causing alarm, distress or annoyance to members of the public. While the use of this power is an operational matter for the police, it is a power that can be used to prevent and deter people from causing nuisance and damage to the Barrow Hill and the Buckpool and Fens Pool Nature Reserves through the antisocial use of motorcycles or quadbikes.

Secondly, it is open to Dudley Council to consult on whether to make a public spaces protection order to restrict the nuisance or antisocial behaviour that is having a detrimental effect on the two nature reserves. The Council will need to be satisfied that the legal tests set out in the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 are met before making such an order.