Off-road vehicles threaten Western Cape beaches

1Off-road vehicles, including quad bikes, are causing problems at certain Western Cape “hotspots”, according to the latest National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report (NECER), released on Wednesday.

The document, which covers the period April 1, 2013 to March 31 this year, says these include beaches in the West Coast, Eden, and Overberg districts, as well as parts of the City of Cape Town metropolitan area.

“The degradation of the coastal environment was clearly visible due to ORV illegal driving, as well as the disturbance of the African black oystercatcher, which uses the coastal area as its breeding habitat.”

Three drivers were caught last year.

An Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) task team had been established to deal with the problem.

“Illegal driving and quad bikes hamper the fundamental role of the regulations, that is the fair and equitable use of the coastal area and the coastal public property.”

Recreational beach driving was banned in 2001, though the regulations were amended three years later to allow certain research and scientific organisations, among others, to drive in specified beach areas if they acquired a permit to do so.

According to the report, the ORV task team has been faced with numerous compliance and enforcement challenges.

A photograph included in the report shows a wide, white-sand beach churned up and covered in off-road tyre tracks.

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