Take back the tracks
Lake District Green Lanes Alliance
"I don’t mind if people want to love their vehicles and want to test them - but surely not in internationally beloved beauty spots.”
James Rebanks, Lake District shepherd and best-selling author
A real chance to end use of green lanes by recreational motor vehicles
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 here and a short briefing document here. You can also download the consultation as PDF on the Defra website. That allows you to have a look at the questions first (p.26). Questions 14 - 17 are the ones particularly concerned with green lanes.
How does recreational motoring on green lanes harm people's experience of the landscape?
The evidence: "They shatter the peace and create anxiety and danger."
In online surveys on two routes near Little Langdale the LDNPA collected hundreds of responses from walkers and cyclists. The environmental psychologist Dr Ryan Lumber evaluates their comments and comes to a worrying conclusion:
Motor vehicles on unsealed roads (or green lanes) fundamentally undermine people's relationship with the landscape of the Lake District. This is their impact :
• Tranquillity and beauty diminished
• Stresses from city life introduced
• Connection with nature disrupted
• Cultural heritage threatened
• Community of walkers besieged
• Physical danger from motor vehicles on narrow sections
• Feeling of apprehension before and while walking the route
• Harm caused to the landscape, flora and fauna
The evidence is shocking, moving and conclusive. Motoring on fell tracks transforms the experience of the great majority of visitors and takes away many of the benefits they have come to expect from a walk or cycle ride on these two green lanes.
Read Ryan Lumber's full report here.
A shocking conservation fault-line between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District
All you need to know in 10 seconds. Just listen.
The "Hierarchy of Trail Routes" is the Lake District National Park's answer to green lane driving. Hierarchy of Trail Route signs adorn many green lanes in the Lake District - no other National Park has adopted it. it was devised by off-road motorists. Read here why this voluntary restraint scheme, devised by off-road motorists, solves nothing.
The Judicial Review brought by the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement (GLEAM) has not been successful. But the judgment does not affect the validity of our central claim, that off-roading on two fell tracks near Little Langdale is environmentally and socially unacceptable.
Although we addressed our open letter to the Members of the Lake District National Park as the body responsible for setting LDNPA strategy and providing leadership and scrutiny, we received a reply from Richard Leafe, the CEO. But we need the Members to look at the way Richard Leafe and his team have shown a persistend pro-offroader bias thorughout this process. So we wrote again to the Members ...
Lake District Green Lanes Alliance
The LDGLA is an alliance for all those who want to protect our historic green lanes for farming access and quiet, non-motorised recreation.
We fully support the National Park's statutory purposes of conserving natural beauty and promoting the enjoyment of its special qualities.
Permitting recreational motor vehicles to colonise the landscape ruins the Lake District for everyone in our diverse and multicultural society.
Recently the focus has very much been on the High Tilberthwaite and High Oxenfell tracks. We are grateful to GLEAM (the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement) for leading the Judicial Review against the Lake District National Park Authority's decision not to consult on Traffic Regulation Orders. Over £60,000 have been raised to fund it - showing the massive support for this cause in the country. We'll keep you updated about progress.
Green Lanes in the Lake District
Green lanes are unsealed tracks, an important part of the Lake District's cultural heritage. They were made for pedestrian and horse-drawn traffic, not for motor vehicles with pneumatic tyres and propelled through their wheels. According to the LDNPA there are 75 green lanes in the Lake District. Of these 16 are classified as red routes, i.e. "priority management routes with significant use requiring significant monitoring/management". The tracks at Little Langdale, High Nibthwaite, Elterwater, Tarn Hows and Stang End and are just some examples.
The Aims of the Lake District Green Lanes Alliance
We are campaigning for the prohibition of recreational motor vehicles on green lanes in the Lake District National Park:
By arguing that recreational activities in the Lake District should be essentially quiet, non-destructive and non-polluting.
By showing that recreational use of green lanes by 4x4s and motor bikes makes routes unpleasant or impossible for non-vehicle users and causes disruption, inconvenience and distress for farmers.
By encouraging the Lake District National Park Authority and Cumbria County Council to use their powers to prohibit recreational motor vehicles through Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs). Programmes for the introduction of such orders should be energetically promoted.