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Green lane 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 follows:

AR2. Identify the most appropriate measures to manage the use of motorised recreational vehicles on each sensitive 'Green Lane', and put all such measures in place by 2011.

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

Tranquillity and visitor management

1. Maintain the quality and diversity of the recreational experience in the National Park so that there continues to be a difference between honeypots, busier and quieter areas:

  • Consider each recreational activity in terms of where it should take place, in what volume and at what time. It must be recognised, though, that in many situations we have no legal means of control and so must work through education and encouraging users' voluntary restraint;

  • Work with the recreation advisory groups and local access forum to minimise any adverse impact or conflict arising from recreational activity, including developing codes of practice and user guidelines delivering key messages about recreation and how to minimise its environmental impact on the National Park;

  • Promote activities in those areas where the type of activity, and further development and associated increase in visitor numbers, can be managed, thus safeguarding the environment, and not placing an undue burden on land management interests. (This will be based on the characteristics of the different areas of the Park as identified in the special qualities and landscape character assessment).

2. Safeguard the National Park from overall or irreversible damage through inappropriate activity and minimise conflict between different users:

  • Use existing legislation and guidance to limit inappropriate activity in the National Park, including supporting and encouraging the Police Authority in controlling illegal and anti-social use;

  • Work with the County Councils and users to explore, identify and implement appropriate management of green lanes in the National Park;

  • Work with landowners, farmers, users and user groups to try and resolve any actual or potential conflict through positive visitor management.

It is not the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's policy to ban, as a matter of principle, a legitimate activity on unsealed routes in the National Park. Our approach is to take an evidence-based approach - looking at each route with possible or proven public rights for mechanically propelled vehicles, assessing its use and sensitivity and identifying suitable management, on a case by case basis.

Green lane management framework

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's approach to green lane management is outlined in the framework document, 'Management of the use of green lanes (unsealed routes) in the Yorkshire Dales National Park', which was produced by the Authority following consultation.

The framework translates our broad policies and objectives into a framework for the management of green lanes in the National Park, ensuring a consistent, case by case approach is taken in line with good practice, legislation and guidance. You can download a copy of the full document by clicking the link below:

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:

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 is being 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 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 will be essential. The advice of the group, including where this suggests use of a Traffic Regulation Order, will go forward to be considered by the Access Committee of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. To download a copy of a flowchart illustrating this process click on the link below:

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