A spokesperson for the Edinburgh and District Motor Club (the club) has released the following statement in response to recent events:
"It has recently been brought to our attention by the relevant authorities that they have detected the riding of motorcycles in prohibited areas, including areas that are designated Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and specifically in the Glen Nevis and Leven Valley areas.
"In no way is there any suggestion that this unacceptable activity relates directly to the forthcoming Scottish Six Days Trial (SSDT). However the Edinburgh and District Motor Club, as a responsible body and as an event organiser that completely relies on the kind permission of numerous landowners and authorities, can in no way condone the actions of a minority of riders who are putting future land use and potentially the SSDT at risk.
"In order to help all riders identify which areas of land this relates to, we have included some useful information on our website - www.ssdt.org. We would also like to make it known that any riders who are found to have been riding in these protected areas, and are due to take part in the SSDT will be dealt with accordingly, with the club ultimately reserving the right to exclude any rider from the event.
"The SSDT has had a positive impact on the local area for the last century and this is something the club is committed to continuing via its many competitors who strictly adhere to land use restrictions under which the event has been run for the last one hundred years."
In addition to this statement the club would also like to bring to the attention of all riders important information as recently provided to them by the Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The SNH issue consent to the club on the basis that the level of activity created by the SSDT each year is sustainable for the habitats for which the sites are designated. Additional activity is likely to lead to an unsustainable level of use, especially when this is spread throughout the year as it prevents habitats recovering.
Unconsented activity leaves the landowner or the person undertaking the activity open to prosecution for damage. This is a criminal offence under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 (as amended) and carries financial penalties of up to £40,000. Use of a vehicle except on a dedicated, built vehicle track would constitute an operation requiring consent on any of the local designated sites with habitat features.
Vehicular access to private land also requires the permission of the landowner. Any motorised activity without landowner's permission constitutes an offence (trespass) and is not permitted under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
To conclude, the Edinburgh and District Motor Club would like to once again express its sincere gratitude to all the landowners and authorities, including Scottish Natural Heritage, who continue to make the SSDT possible each year. This in turn allows competitors from all over the world to continue ride amongst what remains widely regarded as some of the best trials terrain on the planet.