SIR - Thank you for Stuart Minting’s article, ‘Stalemate on green lane issues’ (Craven Herald, August 1), reporting on the recent debate at North Yorkshire’s Local Access Forum about recreational motor vehicle use of green lanes. The county council’s current policy is, when they find out about damage to one or more of the 800 kilometres of green lane in North Yorkshire, is to repair the damage, but not to take any steps to stop the damage recurring. The county council think this is cheaper than the costs they incur if they go through the procedure for consulting on and implementing a ban on recreational motor vehicle use (it is not an automatic ban as the article suggests).

But what the county council should do is learn from the green lane management policy adopted by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) in 2006. The photo of Gorbeck Road in the article shows how this lane, part of the Settle loop of the Pennine Bridleway, had become impassable due to the damage inflicted by recreational motor vehicles by 2006. But it was not just the repairs which YDNPA did on Gorbeck Road which made it the tranquil green lane which it is today, easy to use and enjoyed by walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers. It was also the order banning recreational motor vehicles which YDNPA made on this lane and seven others in 2008. These orders have meant that the condition of the lanes protected by these orders has stabilised or improved compared to what they were like before the bans – much more effective than the county council’s policy of repeated repairs and continued use by off-roaders.

The county council think their policy is cheaper than the costs they incur if they try to ban use by off-roaders, and off-roader groups then challenge the ban in court (as Doug Cartwright of the Trail Riders Fellowship says in the article his group will do). Off-roader groups got the first ban made on Gorbeck Road by YDNPA quashed by the High Court in 2008, because YDNPA had not documented one step in the procedure. But YDNPA remade the ban in 2010, and there has been no other challenge to any of its banning orders.

The county council should copy YDNPA and come up with a cost-effective policy to protect our green lanes from repeated damage and disruption by recreational motor vehicles.

Diana Mallinson