19 October 1998
Off-road vehicles to drive on footpaths?

THE Countryside Commission wants to open up 9000 miles of “green lanes” to off-road vehicles.

The proposal, made in a commission paper Rights of Way in the 21st Century, includes routes that are footpaths and bridleways.

Roger Ward, a senior rights of way policy officer, said the proposal was needed to break the backlog of cases as local authorities, landowners, off-road enthusiasts and environmental groups fight over the status of green lanes.

“Re-classifying these lanes individually is a huge undertaking,” Mr Ward said.

“We propose sorting the matter out in one fell swoop. We can see an element of rough justice, but then we also need a system which is administratively effective.”

The commissions proposals would apply to ways now described as Unclassified Country Road, of which it estimates there are between 6000 and 9000 miles, and to Roads used as Public Paths, of which there are 3000 miles.

Local authorities are reviewing the status of the latter based on established use.

  • The Daily Telegraph 19/10/98 page 5