The illegal use of scrambler bikes within the Wicklow Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC) has resulted in convictions and fines for two men at Carlow District Court.
On 2 March the men with addresses in Corragh and Blessington Co Wicklow pleaded guilty to breaches of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011-2021. The SAC lands are protected by Ministerial direction and the recreational use of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), such as scramblers and quads, is specifically prohibited.
Both men pleaded guilty breaches of the European Communities (Birds and Natural Habitats) Regulations 2011-2021, specifically Regulation 29, the use of an ATV in the Wicklow Mountains Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and Regulation 5, failure to comply or obstruct an officer in the exercise of their duties.
William Maher, BL presented the case for the state. A National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger gave evidence to the court and highlighted how damaging scrambler bike use can be to the fragile habitats in the SAC.
The NPWS Conservation Ranger stated that on 29th November 2020, several NPWS rangers, supported by An Garda Síochána, were engaged in a targeted patrol to deal with illegal use of ATV’s on the Wicklow Mountains SAC. The men were observed leaving Mr Teasdale’s house and travelling onto the surrounding hills with their scrambler vehicles. They entered into the Wicklow Mountains Special Area of Conservation and travelled an estimated 7km across protected habitat causing damage to the vulnerable blanket bog habitat.
Judge Geraldine Carthy convicted the men on both counts and said in this instance she would not impose a custodial sentence but imposed a fine of €1,000 for the first matter and €500 for the second matter for each of the men. Judge Carthy also awarded costs of €1,500+VAT to be shared.
This is the second successful case for the illegal use of ATV’s before Carlow District Court in the last month.