National park authorities can now take action to tackle problems caused by off-road vehicles on green lanes.
Previously, only highway authorities – usually county councils – could issue orders, which often led to delays and further damage to country routes.
Walkers on a track in the Yorkshire Dales
The Council for National Parks CNP), a charity working to protect national parks, welcomed the new laws. David Murray, the group’s transport campaigner, said: “These new powers will enable national park authorities to address concerns about damage caused by inappropriate off-road vehicular use.
“This will help ensure that the public can continue to enjoy the tranquillity and peace and quiet found in the national parks.”
A survey by the CNP two years ago discovered widespread damage to rights of way in the parks, along with conflict between riders and drivers and other users of tracks. The North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District were among parks affected by 4×4s and trail bikes.
The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 introduced the new right to make traffic regulation orders on rights of way and unsurfaced roads. The provisions came into force at the beginning of the week.