SDLP MLA Sinéad Bradley is calling for consideration of rural residents within the Mournes area as the number of visitors to the region soars.
Ms Bradley says “I have been speaking with a number of residents and farmers who live on the rural roads in the locality of the beautiful Mourne Mountains. There is an element of frustration as some locals are finding it an increased challenge to travel to and from their homes and farms as the volume of traffic parked on narrow roadsides continues to grow. It’s particularly challenging for farmers using large agricultural vehicles, which is a necessity as part of their working day.”
During the pandemic there has been a significant increase in people visiting outdoor spaces for exercise and wellbeing which has brought an influx of vehicles to Mourne rural roads particularly over weekends. Currently there is not adequate designated parking available to facilitate demand resulting in cars parking roadside. There are a number of shuttle bus services available providing pickup and drop offs for walkers along popular walking routes. This could offer an alternative to the influx of cars which are coming into the vicinity.
Ms Bradley adds “While it is wonderful to see people enjoying the great outdoors and experiencing the stunning scenery, we have in South Down, I ask that visitors try to park responsibly when accessing walking paths. We want everyone to be able to enjoy the Mournes and the many benefits associated with exercise. It’s particularly important for our physical and mental wellbeing to find things to enjoy as the pandemic continues but I ask that during such times, people are mindful of those who live and work in the area.”