The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has reached a major milestone in a project to manage the use by recreational motor vehicles of unsurfaced ‘green lanes’ in the National Park.
After looking at all the routes in the National Park, 30 were identified as being highly sensitive to recreational motor vehicle use.
Detailed field work has taken place along with local consultation on their management and the results of this work, together with advice from the Green Lanes Advisory Group – a group set up to represent the various interests – have contributed to the development of a management plan for each route.
Mark Allum, the YDNPA’s Recreation Manager, said: “The Authority realises that not being able to use these routes has a considerable impact on recreational motor vehicle users, and that these restrictions mean that opportunities to enjoy the National Park’s ‘green lanes’ in motor vehicles are now more limited.
“However, this has had to be balanced against the adverse impact of recreational motor vehicles on the natural beauty of the area and the increased enjoyment of the landscape that their restriction brings to other people.”
The project began five years ago and has been about much more than simply restricting recreational motor vehicles on 11 sensitive routes.
On the remaining 19, other management measures have been used.
Requests for voluntary restraint have been worked out with motor vehicle user groups, and physical measures to prevent vehicles leaving tracks have been put in place. The Authority has also spent more than £100,000 on repairs to some of the routes over the past three years.
Malcolm Petyt, the YDNPA’s Member Champion for Recreation Management, said: “The Authority has put considerable staff time and budget into managing ‘green lanes’ because they are an important part of the recreational resource and heritage of the National Park and, in some cases, recreational motor vehicle use was having a significant impact on the natural beauty and amenity of the National Park.
“The combination of targeted repair work and some restrictions on use is fundamental to the success of the project.
“The management of the ‘green lanes’ is an on-going project, and we continue to work with the North Yorkshire and Cumbria county councils, which are responsible, overall, for their ongoing maintenance, and the police where illegal or irresponsible use occurs.”