DAMAGING WESTERN CAPE BEACHES: The National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report states that coastal degradation was visible on Western Cape beaches and that illegal driving was to blame. Image: Shutterstock/ Nolte Lourens
CAPE TOWN - Off-road vehicles, including quad bikes, are damaging Western Cape tourist "hotspots", according to the National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report (NECER), released on Wednesday (Oct 8).
The report covered beaches along the West Coast, Eden and Overberg districts, as well as parts of the City of Cape Town metropolitan area from April 1 2013 to March 31 2014.
NECER said: "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."
An Off-Road Vehicle (ORV) task team had been established to deal with the problem and NECER reports that three drivers were caught in 2013.
NECER said: "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.
‘Heavy fines should be imposed,’ ‘Control is the issue, not a blanket ban,’ ‘my right as been taken away’... Wheels24 readers responded to the NECER report that claims off-road vehicles are damaging Western Cape beaches.
Do you agree with the findings in the NECER report? What can be done to curb illegal driving? Do you think off-road enthusiasts should be allowed to drive on beaches? Email us your thoughts and we’ll publish them on Wheels24.