Government Consultation on Off-Roading in National Parks

The Government has issued a public consultation on its response to the Glover Landscapes Review. The consultation document includes questions that give respondents the opportunity to call for the prohibition of the use of green lanes by recreational motor vehicles. We urge you to respond. This chance won’t come again. You will find the online consultation at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/future-landscapes-strategy/government-response-to-the-landscapes-review/.

The background. The Government recognises the vital role of nature for the nation’s wellbeing. Since the pandemic, this has become even more obvious. Equally, the Government acknowledges the urgent need to reduce our dependence on motor vehicles. Green lanes – the thousands of miles of ancient, unsealed tracks that criss-cross the English countryside – are much more than just access routes: they are a historic, precious part of the rural landscape. Some green lanes are ancient drovers’ roads or cart tracks. Others are older, dating back to Roman, or even prehistoric times. They have survived for hundreds of years as precious features of the rural heritage. They need protection.

The impact of recreational motor vehicles on green lanes. Recreational motors – chiefly motorbikes and 4x4s – are noisy, intrusive, polluting, and sometimes dangerous. They destroy the fabric of green lanes, often reducing them to rutted quagmires. Beautiful, tranquil places have been made ugly. Recreational motor vehicles damage not just the tracks themselves, but the amenity and enjoyment of other users – farmers, disabled people, walkers, cyclists, equestrians. The lives of those who live alongside green lanes, or who need them for essential access, are made difficult. The health of the natural environments of which the lanes form an important part is degraded.

The need for legislation. The Government has recognised that protecting green lanes has become a pressing issue. It has devoted part of the consultation on its Glover Landscapes Review response to a series of questions on the future use of green lanes – questions 14 to 17. Please take part in the consultation and use your answers to these questions to call for an end to the use of recreational motor vehicles on green lanes.

GLEAM campaigns to protect green lanes from the danger, difficulty and inconvenience caused by recreational motor vehicles. It is calling for such vehicles to be prohibited everywhere, leaving the lanes open only to motor vehicles with a legitimate need for access.

Mike Bartholomew, GLEAM Chairman
www.gleam-uk.org