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Country News - 2005

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Green lanes: salvation in sight?

Thusday 13 October 2005

THERE may be an end in sight for one of the longest running controversies in the Yorkshire Dales - the row over damage caused to ancient "green lanes" by 4 x 4 vehicles and trail motorbikes used for leisure.

The green lanes - unsurfaced byways which have criss-crossed the Dales for centuries - came into being before motor vehicles had been invented and were used mainly by farmers and other locals going to work in their fields.

They have, however, legal status as public highways and this has meant that local authorities like the Yorkshire Dales National Park have been unable to ban leisure vehicles which, say critics, have reduced some of the lanes to virtually impassable mud baths.

This is vehemently denied by leisure drivers - they have been the single biggest protestors in our Have you Say column - but now the Government has come down on the side of the planning authorities.

An Act going through Parliament which will allow local authorities to restrict motorised access to local residents only had its third reading in the Commons late on Tuesday night and Rural Affairs Minister Jim Knight told the House:

"National park authorities will benefit immensely from having the necessary tools to manage traffic effectively for the protection of recreational routes."


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