Campaigners call for complete motors ban on Dales green lanes

Cam High Road which has previously been repaired by national park rangers with financial support from green lanes user groups.

Campaigners pressing for green lanes to be protected from damage caused by recreational motorists have urged national park bosses to support legislation to ban off-road vehicles from all unclassified roads in national parks.

A meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority heard claims recreational motor use of unsealed unclassified routes (UURs) had increased in recent years alongside the frequency of repairs to the lanes, some of which had not previously been regarded as sensitive to use.

Campaigners said the park’s unprotected UURs, such as the West Cam Road, remained key links for non-motorised users and formed part of Pennine Bridleway and Pennine Way national trails, but were frequently being severely impacted by 4x4s and off-road motorbikes.

The meeting was told North Yorkshire County Council had spent more than £39,000 on repairs to the UURs in 2021 and its former corporate director had called for fresh legislation to help it manage the county’s hundreds of UURs by removing all vehicular rights and giving the lanes the equivalent status to bridleways.

Members also heard the most recent surveys of visitors to the national park had found peace and tranquility had increased as a reason why people enjoyed spending time in the area.

Veteran green lanes campaigner Michael Bartholomew said proposals outlined by the government to introduce legislation to empower national parks to crack down on the issue had opened the way for substantial reforms to what had persisted as an issue in the national park for decades.

Dr Bartholomew told the meeting the authority had made very effective use of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to bar motor vehicles from the lanes on a case by case basis.

He said: “In many ways you have been a model for other national parks to follow, but there are difficulties in using TRO powers, so it may be that you will throw your weight behind asking for new legislation so the law will prevent the abuse that you have to tackle in a piecemeal fashion.”

In response, the authority said it had been the first national park authority to use TRO powers, and “as far as we are concerned they work really well”.

Officers added while introducing TROs was a lengthy and complex process which could be simplified, highways authorities had only the same powers.

The meeting heard there was confusion over whether introducing blanket restrictions on UURs could have unintended consequences on numerous residents accessing their properties, so the authority would press the government to clarify what was being proposed being consulting members for their views.

The authority’s chairman, Neil Heseltine, said the authority was continuing to manage the green lanes despite cuts to its government grant.

He said: “There are currently 27 out of 138 unsealed routes that have possible or proven rights for recreational motor vehicles with management plans in place as they are considered sensitive to use by motor vehicles.

“This includes ten routes with TROs with the purpose of preserving the amenity and the natural beauty of the area. All 27 routes are monitored and their management plans kept under review with an annual report summarising any issues which need to be addressed. “

5 Comments

  1. Campaigners call for more access and more green lanes open.. Now why’s that not a headline as I know plenty who campaign regularly for this and help maintain the ones that are open . TRF Green Lane Association amongst others.

  2. Ban them for cyclists, walkers and horses too lets see how they feel about that . Motor vehicles pay tax they don’t . There are plenty of Bridleways and even more footpaths but very few green lanes but it’s still not good enough for them . We are unfortunately living in a time of banning everything. That is t good for anyone in the end .

    • One parish council wants to ban motorbikes from the A684 even though they bring in a lot of revenue to the Dales villages and fundraise for the air ambulance so you are right. Even privacy is banned in some areas

  3. We all pay tax but the main point here is that the National Park says selective TROs work so no need for blanket legislation.

  4. We should focus on educating the monitory of people that abuse green laning. The vast majority of 4×4 drivers are responsible, considerate to others and traditionally actually care about the environment (my 4×4 is ULEZ compliant)
    Green Lakers are also the people that volunteer with 4×4 response groups trough out the UK, and the vast majority with Search & Rescue units…
    I slow down or stop, wave and smile at everyone when out, I take my rubbish home and report inconsiderate, illegal behaviour from all groups (note that I am a walker, runner, dog walker and a 4×4 driver) – there is only a small minority of lanes in the country for this… educate, not ban… banning will remove the responsible majority, the minority that already break the rules will carry on…

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