Motorists have won the right to use a green lane in the Yorkshire Dales, following a ruling of the High Court.
The national park authority expressed its disappointment at the outcome, which quashed four Traffic Regulation Orders introduced to protect sensitive routes in the area from motorbikes and all-terrain vehicles. However, it said that another, earlier case meant three of the lanes would remain closed to recreational motor vehicles.
The High Court in Leeds upheld an application by the Land Access Recreation Association and two other individual applicants to have four TROs removed. However, the court threw out a bid to have a further four quashed. But in another legal complication, grough understands that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is contending that three of the affected green lanes don’t have vehicular rights along the whole length of their routes. These were classed as Byways Open to All Traffic, and a case elsewhere in the country effectively removed the need to introduce TROs on them.
However, Gorbeck Road, between Malhamdale and Stockdale Lane near Settle, will now be available for motor users. Much of the route is part of the Pennine Bridleway and the track passes within 50m of Jubille Cave, a scheduled ancient monument. It is believed to date back to mediaeval times and, in the 18th century, was one of the main routes between Settle and Malham.
The ruling is a blow for the authority, which introduced TROs on 13 green lanes, to try to minimise damage caused by motor vehicles. The judgement was announced today. 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.
“Following this decision, the authority will reassess the situation and consider what action may now be necessary to best protect these sensitive routes.”
Other orders covering green lanes in the Yorkshire Dales are not affected, the park authority said.