A government minister rejected advice from civil servants to block all-terrain vehicle tours on the Railway Trail, a court heard.

The Supreme Court heard yesterday in a civil case that Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the public works minister, overruled technical officers from the Department of Parks and licensed tour operator Rudolph Hollis to run ATV tours on sections of the Railway Trail in the West End.

Ben Adamson, the lawyer for the plaintiff Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce, said that officials had warned that to allow the tours on the Railway Trail, Scaur Hill Fort Park and Hog Bay Park would breach several laws, including some designed to protect the natural environment.

Mr Adamson added that the use of ATVs on the Railway Trail was “unlawful at the time of the decision, and they remain unlawful today”.

He said that the officials had raised “palpable points” about “the safety, illegality, and environmental impact” of the plan. Mr Adamson added that Colonel Burch did not offer any reasons for why he disagreed with the advice.

Permission for the tours was granted under the former One Bermuda Alliance government in 2017.

Mr Adamson said that officials had warned Colonel Burch the tours would breach the Bermuda National Parks Act and the Road Traffic (Western Section of the Railway Path) Order 1955. Charles Richardson, representing the minister, said it was “absurd” to suggest that Colonel Burch had not considered the advice from officials,

Read more here: http://www.royalgazette.com/court/article/20190206/burch-takes-own-counsel-on-atvs