Horse Trails & Horse Tails

Break Horse Power

Reproduced by kind permission of PRIVATE EYE magazine

No one expects car manufacturers to be eco-friendly. But German giant BMW has just excelled itself by defeating two small charities and winning the right to close a 2,000-year-old public bridleway and part of an old Roman way in order to develop its plant at Cowley, outside Oxford.

The British Horse Society and the Ramblers Association were also ordered to pay nearly £50,000 in costs to Oxfordshire County Council, which had supported the car maker.

While BMW has agreed to provide an alternative route for pedestrians and cyclists, it is not prepared to entertain horses and riders on its land, claiming no horse or rider was seen on the bridleway during its surveys.

But the BHS, which sees equestrian rights of way shrinking year by year, forcing riders on to roads, says a vital safe link for horses to reach a nearby country park has been lost. The nearest alternative route to the park means riders will now have to negotiate their way round a bust roundabout, on to a dual carriageway and finally cross two lanes of traffic to get on to another restricted by-way doubt angering all those BMW drivers in a hurry who believe roads are for cars only.

Brief Outline of Case

as per BHS Tracks magazine
The BHS objected because no alternative was being offered to horse riders.
There were five objectors.... BHS, CPRE and west Berkshire Downs Riding Club, Oxfordshire CC's countryside services, the Ramblers Association (in support of equestrians)
BMW agreed to fund the Council if it took the matter to court.
BMW applied for £182,000 costs against BHS and Ramblers Association.
The court awarded £30,000 costs against BHS.

BHS Access Department

Wants horse rider to write to their local BMW dealership, and headquarters objecting to BMW's lack of respect to horse riders. Please donate to the Access Fighting Fund.

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