An opportunity to end the use of green lanes by recreational motor vehicles in Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Alkham Parish Council
Dear Parish Council/Parish Meeting/Town Council
Government consultation on the Glover Landscapes Review – an opportunity to stop ‘off-roading’ in the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs)
You will be aware I am sure that the government is consulting on its response to the Glover landscapes review. I am writing on behalf of the Green Lanes Environment Movement (GLEAM) to draw your attention to the part of the consultation which addresses the problem of recreational motor vehicles (4x4s, quad bikes and motorbikes) driving on green lanes, in particular in the National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Green lanes are either Byways Open to all Traffic (BOATs) or unsealed unclassified roads (UURs). BOATs carry legal rights for motor vehicles. The rights of way on all UURs are unknown.
We know from our work with Parish Councils that ‘off-roading’ on both BOATs and UURs is a serious issue for the local communities affected by it, for non-motorised users and for farmers and landowners. It is also clear that, despite the legal powers available to the Highway Authorities and the National Park Authorities, the current legislative framework for controlling use of recreational motor vehicles on unsealed tracks in the countryside has not stopped the damage which is being done the fabric of either the National Parks or the AONBs. Nor is the current legislation protecting local communities and non-motorised users from public nuisance, sometimes danger.
As you will know the AONBs have no legal powers of their own to stop or control off-roading and are dependent on the Highway Authorities. The latter are reluctant to act because of the costs involved in making Traffic Regulation Orders and the risk of legal challenge by the recreational motoring lobby. Meanwhile cash-strapped Highway Authorities are having to bear the costs of repairing, often re-repairing, green lanes that cannot sustain use by powerful recreational motor vehicles.
We hope that your Parish Council/Meeting or Town Council will want to take part in the consultation and will ask for new legislation which will fully protect all green lanes in the AONBs.
The government’s response to the Glover review and the online consultation on its response are at Government response to the Landscapes Review - Defra - Citizen Space . The ‘off-roading’ questions are questions 14 to 17. For further information, a briefing paper from GLEAM is attached to my email. Please note that the consultation closes on 9 April 2022.
Mike Bartholomew, Chairman
Tel: 01423 771713
Irene Bowie Clerk to Alkham Parish Council
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Alkham, Dover, Kent