Motor Vehicles Allowed Back On Some Yorkshire Dales Green Lanes

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The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) is disappointed at the outcome of a court case that decided to quash four Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) imposed to protect particularly sensitive ‘green lanes’ in the National Park from use by recreational motor vehicles.

The YDNPA originally made 13 TROs on ‘green lanes’ – routes that are unsurfaced – following the result of an extensive review of the National Park’s network of routes. The TROs were made to prohibit use by recreational motor vehicles for the purposes of preserving the amenity and conserving the natural beauty of the areas through which the routes pass.

The Land Access Recreation Association (LARA) and two individuals began court proceedings in July 2008 against the YDNPA to quash eight of the 13 TROs.

Following a two-day hearing at the High Court in Leeds on 2 and 3 June, the Court has decided that TROs imposed on four of the eight routes should be quashed.

Speaking about the decision, announced today (June 19), Dr Malcolm Petyt, the YDNPA’s recreation member champion, said: “The Authority was always aware that any orders it made to restrict motorised vehicular use of green lanes were likely to be challenged by recreational motor vehicle users. Special care was taken to deal with the matter on the correct legal and procedural basis so we are disappointed with this decision.

“However, we were the first National Park Authority to use these new powers and the outcome means that we, along with other national park authorities, now have greater understanding of the law following this judgement.”

The four routes affected by the judgment are:

  • Gorbeck Road and Stockdale Lane between Settle and Malhamdale.
  • Street Gate near Malham Tarn to Arncliffe Cote.
  • Harber Scar Lane between Horton-in-Ribblesdale and High Green Field

Only one of these routes, Gorbeck Road, has recognised rights for recreational motor vehicles along its full length.

Following a ruling in the Court of Appeal last year concerning applications for byways open to all traffic (BOATs) in another part of the country, the other three routes, which were also the subject of BOAT applications, are no longer believed to have rights for recreational motor vehicles in any event.

Dr Petyt said: “Following this decision, the Authority will reassess the situation and consider what action may now be necessary to best protect these sensitive routes.”

It should be noted that other TROs made by the YDNPA are unaffected by this decision.

Further information can be found at

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Comments (13)

    Thats Stockdale Lane knackered then.

    That’s a bloody disaster, the Settle Loop will be fecked in weeks and Arncliffe Cote just won’t cope with the Trail bikes. As I understood it the appeal was against the procedure and the plan was that if the Park lost then they’d re-apply for the TROs correctly. I’ll find out.

    Bugger, it wasn’t the procedure, this is from LARA’s press release….
    The Motoring Organisation’s Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA) challenged
    the decision of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to discard the
    recommendations of the independent Yorkshire Dales Green Lane Advisory Group, and
    instead to impose full-time prohibition of driving orders. Judge Behrens held that the Park
    Authority had not conducted the necessary degree of balancing of movement of traffic, and
    acted irrationally when moving to exclude recreational motor vehicles from ‘green lanes’ in
    the National Park.

    Street gate to Arncliffe Cote is like a bowling green, It will be ripped to shreds.

    On another note, Horse, you joining us on the STW ride next week ?

    Time for chains & padlocks to ‘mysteriously’ appear overnight on the gates.

    Doesnt erosion make mountain biking more interesting and doesnt mountain biking speed up erosion? Live and let live. Im not a 4×4/green-laner etc but surely walkers/ramblers could also argue against mtb access if you want to get pedantic over such an issue. True- some lanes can be a quagmire after rain but why shouldnt other hobby users have access?

    There’s erosion and then there’s devastation. Gorbeck before it’s repair is a good example, as is the Craven Wold, as is The Occy Road. There’s a distinct difference from MTB damage and the ruts that crossers make.

    lowey, which ride is this?

    By the way, it’s only Gorbeck which is an U/C road which now has access, the others resort back to their “original” status which is Bridleways (with BOAT applications)

    Street gate doesn’t even have a track on the ground for the most part – just grazing field.

    That won’t last for long.

    Nope. Especially the climbs, they’ll get chewed to ****.

    The more “green lanes” that are closed results in even more pressure on the ones that are open. Farming traffic and normal weather create more erosion than trail riders do.

    To quote the Park’s statement; particularly sensitive ‘green lanes’

    Trimix, you’re talking cobblers. The lanes in question can’t take off-road usage. Stockdale for example only has narrow gates, the farmers (Cowperthwaites) don’t use it, and Arncliffe Cote is, as previously pointed out a bowling green in places.

    About time the TRO’s got overturned. The fact that they have been overturned by a court just goes to prove that the powers that be in the YDNPA are just ‘rights of way fascists’ who like think that they own the coutryside.

    The myth that trail bikes (motorbikes) damage these lanes any more than other users is totally untrue, and there has even been government commissionsed reports proving this.
    The real cause of damage to these lanes is mainly due to farm traffic and 4×4 use, as well as the sheer numbers of users on these lanes (yes that includes mountain bikers!)

    Quite how a 150kg trail bike can cause as much damage as an 800kg horse or even a ~2000kg 4×4, I am unsure. All users need to realise that they too contribte to the damage to these lanes, and that it is not just one usergroup!

    Anyway, now that YDNPA have lost the court case, the costs will unfortuately have to be paid for by the tax payer, as the Park Authority is a government related body. No doubt that this decision will have ultimately no bearing on the YDNPA’s future decisions, and that the self righteous, sly and vindictive ‘powers that be’ will ultimately try new ways to ban usergroups from these lanes, based on false, exaggerated and unfounded evidence.

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