We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to provide the necessary means to allow Natural Resources Wales to fully re-open the Cwmcarn Forest Drive to private cars at Easter 2018.
In the summer of 2014 Natural Resources Wales stated that the Cwmcarn Forest Drive, also known as the Scenic Drive, would be closed for a minimum of two years from November 2014 and that this was necessary because of the infection of the Japanese larch in the Cwmcarn valley and surrounding hillsides. The removal of the larch is now almost complete and NRW are beginning to reinstate the cycle tracks and footpaths, however there does not appear to be a plan to reinstate the scenic drive, even though the vast majority of the route is undamaged. To single out private car users of the drive is unfair and unnecessary when other users will face only temporary disruption. Many of those who access the Drive via private car do so because they have limited mobility, some are families with small children, many are elderly, disabled or from our ethnic minority and immigrant communities. Failing to provide a facility for these people is discriminatory especially when there are plans, and funds available, to provide further facilities for other users. The lack of a fully accessible scenic drive deprives those people who are our most culturally and materially deprived of their main facility for health and well-being. Our organisation, the Friends of Cwmcarn Forest Drive wants equality of access for all users of the scenic drive and calls for the Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to provide the means to make this possible.