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Green lanes management

Green lane policy

The National Park Management Plan outlines the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's aspirations in relation to the management of green lanes as:

"Maintain and keep under review appropriate measures to manage the use of recreational motor vehicles on sensitive green lanes, review the current 10 Traffic Regulation Orders by 2014, and continue to work with enforcing agencies as required."

The thematic strategy 'Special Qualities, Special Experiences - an integrated recreation and tourism strategy' (2010) contains the broad policies that relate to this. These are:

  1. It is important to recognise that some places are valued for being wild and remote, whilst others have extensive visitor facilities and infrastructure and are readily accessible. This in itself can be part of the attraction that makes these locations a focus for large numbers of people at any one time. 
  2. The use of recreational motor vehicles on some routes has been an area of concern for many years, affecting both the enjoyment of other users and the habitat and landscape. However, following the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, use of green lanes by recreational motor vehicles is much reduced in the National Park.  

The use of green lanes by recreational motor vehicles and management options are described in our document ‘Management of the use of green lanes (unsealed routes) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park’

To ensure that any management that we implemented on the ground was evidence-based, we first undertook a desktop sensitivity assessment of the network of routes used by recreational motor vehicles.  This was followed up by extensive field surveys with detailed reports of the findings before any management solutions were decided.

Green lane management framework

The framework translates our broad policies and objectives into a framework for the management of green lanes in the National Park. It ensures a consistent, case by case approach is taken in line with good practice, legislation and guidance.

In summary, the framework outlines factors that need to be considered in evaluating the impact of recreational motor vehicles on green lanes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park including:

  • considerations relating to national park designation;
  • the ecological sensitivity associated with the route;
  • the heritage of the route and its surroundings;
  • conflict between recreational user groups;
  • concerns of local residents and landowners/managers;
  • the durability of the route;
  • the condition of the route; and
  • the uses of the route.

Possible options for management of individual routes, identified in the framework, include:

  • do nothing;
  • repair the route;
  • maintain the route;
  • seek voluntary restraint on use of the route from specified users; and
  • place legal restriction (Traffic Regulation Order – TRO) on use of route from specified users. For example:
  • limit use of the route to a specified number of users each month (a permit system);
  • seasonal restriction on use (preventing use at specified times of year);
  • other partial restriction (for example, preventing use for certain number of days or at certain times of day); or
  • all year round restriction on use.

Sensitivity assessment

For routes which have proven mechanically propelled vehicular rights, or where such rights are a possibility, identifying suitable management options will revolve around a detailed assessment of the route. The methodology used to assess sensitivity, initially, together with the findings can be downloaded below:

Methodology for sensitivity assessment and the prioritisation of unsealed routes (PDF)

Findings of the sensitivity assessment process in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and findings of the sensitivity assessment process

Of 102 routes with possible or proven mechanically propelled vehicular rights, 28 were assessed as high sensitivity.

For each of these routes a detailed assessment report was produced. This report goes to an advisory group (Yorkshire Dales Green Lane Advisory Group) set up to give advice on management measures on individual unsealed routes.

The National Park was extended in 2016 to include a new area to the north and west. An additional 35 routes with possible or proven rights for mechanically propelled vehicles have been assessed using the desktop Sensitivity Assessment methodology. This identified five routes as potentially sensitive - we will now compile additional information about these five routes. You can download the findings below:

Findings of the sensitivity assessment process for the extension area

The Yorkshire Dales Access Forum have helped set up this advisory group, which consists of four representatives from the Forum, and four members of other groups to ensure a balance of interests and experience including recreational motor vehicle users.

The advisory group also includes representatives from the two county councils and Natural England. The Authority's Recreation Management Member Champion chairs the group. Where a route crosses the boundary of the National Park the full involvement of the relevant county council is essential.

The advice of the group, including where this suggests use of a Traffic Regulation Order, goes forward to be considered by officers of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Which green lanes can I use?

Find out more including a guidance leaflet and tips in Green lanes.

Weather forecasts

Find details of local weather forecasts

Green lanes

Information on which green lanes can be driven legally.

Ranger Service

Our Rangers and what they do

Help for farmers

From grants to stewardships, we can help

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