AQW 17593/11-15

Mr Chris Lyttle
Alliance Party
East Belfast

Tabled Date: 04/12/2012
Answered On Date: 17/12/2012
Priority Written: No

To ask the Minister of the Environment for an update on proposed changes in the No Cycling By-laws that were requested by North Down Borough Council; and whether his Department remains willing to facilitate the changes that have been requested to date.

The bye-laws that currently regulate cycling in the district of North Down Borough Council are the Pleasure Ground Bye-laws, which were confirmed in 1995. The 1995 bye-laws regulate cycling in designated areas.
On 17 March 2010, the Department received an application from the Council to revoke the 1995 bye-laws and replace them with a new set of Bye-laws for Pleasure Grounds, Public Walks and Open Spaces.
The Council proposes to make changes to its current provisions for cycling. It also proposes changes in a range of other matters such as camping, parking, sports and games, boats, water, and power-driven model aircraft. In addition, the Council also proposes changes to the areas to which the bye-laws are to apply.
Officials have worked with the Council to agree bye-laws that are:-
consistent and not in conflict with general law;
clear and certain, so that members of the public will be able to understand what is covered by the bye-laws and their responsibility to comply with the bye-laws;
reasonable and not unduly restrictive;
intra vires; and
Most recently, on 17 October 2012, the Council supplied an updated version of the proposed bye-laws. The Department responded to the Council on 13 November 2012 asking the council:
to clarify its intentions regarding promenades and to reconsider the relevant enabling legislation; and
to consider the relationship/conflict between its proposed bye-law to protect wildlife, and the provisions of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.
Officials also supplied specific advice in response to a question from the Council, and reminded the Council of previous advice that had not been fully addressed.
Officials are currently awaiting a response from the Council.
The Department remains committed to assisting the Council in obtaining bye-laws agreeable to all parties involved, and suitable for confirmation.
I have instructed DOE officials to meet Council officials in early January to resolve this matter and report back to me by the end of January 2013.