Trail riders win Lake District battle over powered vehicles on green lanes

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A bid to have trail bike riders and 4x4s banned from some of the few byways in the Lake District they have legal access to has been thrown out by a High Court judge.

A campaign by a group of ramblers, mountain bikers and horse riders had appealed to over-rule a decision by the national park authority to continue to allow motor vehicles to use a series of green lanes in the Langdale and Coniston valleys, claiming they polluted and damaged the area and are a safety risk.

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The appeal came after the group, the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement (GLEAM) had its request to the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) to ban motor vehicles on the tracks turned down. The legal action was crowd-funded to the tune of £64,000 and backed by a 374,000 signatory petition.

Green lane riding on a motorbike

However Mr Justice Dove agreed with the LDNPA that it was hard to prove the limited, albeit increased, usage of motor vehicles was making the area less attractive to a degree where it was reducing tourism or outdoor activities in the area and dismissed GLEAM’s case on all counts.

Dove also agreed that weather and mountain bike usage eroded the trails as much as vehicle use. Of the 2,038 miles of byways, footpaths, bridleways and minor roads in the Lake District national park just 75 are legally accessible by motor vehicle.

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Phil West

By Phil West

MCN Contributor and bike tester.