The ACU is delighted with the outcome of a High Court case, which has restored four green lanes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for use by recreational motor vehicles.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park imposed a full-time prohibition of driving order which was challenged by the Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA). Judge Behrens stated that the Park Authority had not conducted the necessary level of balancing of movement of traffic, and the decision to exclude recreational motor vehicles from ‘green lanes’ in the National Park was deemed irrational.
LARA has worked hard over a number of years to regulate and manage the use of green lanes in the National Park, it has also lobbied for national legislation against recreational motor vehicle activity in the Park.
Geoff Wilson who is a past member, and chair, of the YDNP Local Access Forum has become an advocate of LARA and the off road community. Following the courts decision he said: “I have a great fondness for the Yorkshire Dales and in many respects applaud the examples set by the Authority, but there are examples of the Authority acting unfairly and without appropriate balance for all elements of the Park community. The issues exposed by this judgment are a clear illustration that my concerns are well founded.
“Through YDNPA intransigence this case must have cost the YDNPA, and tax payers, upwards of £50,000. It is time and money that need not and should not have been expended had the NPA been more rational in its approach. As a gesture of goodwill LARA even withdrew part of its original claim and made offers that would have avoided the greater part of these costs but typically in arrogance the Authority turned them down and cost the taxpayers a lot of money.”
LARA now urges the YDNPA to go back to the considered proposals of its Advisory Group as the basis for any orders to be remade, and undertakes to work positively with the YDNPA to achieve a fair balance of management measures.
The lessons learned from this case are widely applicable to the making of traffic regulation orders everywhere, and not just on green lanes. The rules and considerations identified here apply to sealed roads just as much, and will help regulate spurious ‘access only’ prohibitions.