Environment Bill & 4×4’s.

An interesting amendment from the pressure group Gleam to the Environment Bill.

Proposed amendment Section 7, Environmental Improvement Plan.
To assist in informing the Environmental Improvement Plan, the Secretary of State will carry out a public consultation on whether driving a motor vehicle for recreational purposes on unsealed tracks in the countryside, in particular in protected landscapes, should continue to be permitted.

Explanation of amendment.

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 protected footpaths and bridleways from use and damage by recreational motor vehicles but it left unprotected a further 3000 miles of countryside tracks. These are the nation’s green lanes. They are being used and damaged by 4x4s, motor bikes and quad bikes being driven for recreational purposes. This amendment is the first step in closing the loophole in the NERC Act which is permitting environmental damage being done to green lanes. The amendment does not
bring into question the rights of landowners or residents, the drivers of essential motor vehicles or people with disabilities who use mobility scooters.

The amendment was introduced by Lord Bradshaw.

My Lords, the stated purpose of the Environment Bill is to improve the natural environment and the 2019 Glover review of the national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty that called for radical change in the way we protect our landscape. The review stressed the need for us to take urgent steps to recover and enhance nature. One thing that is causing damage to the natural environment and to our fragile and precious landscapes is that 4×4 vehicles, motorbikes and quad bikes are allowed to be driven for purely recreational purposes on unsealed tracks all over the countryside, including in national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. The only reason this is allowed to happen is because the law as it stands states that a countryside track, whatever it may be, which has been used in the past by horsedrawn carts, carries a right of way for any kind of modern motor vehicle.

Parliament attempted to deal with this problem in 2006 in the passage of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act. It put a stop to the historic use of horsedrawn carts, giving rise to the use of cars and motorbikes on footpaths and bridleways, but it left unprotected over 3,000 miles of other tracks in the countryside that have no right of way classification. These are the country’s green lanes. They are all open to use and abuse by recreational motor vehicles, and as a result, great damage is being done, even on the high fells. The amendment I will seek to table does not ask for an immediate change in the law, and if passed, it would require the Secretary of State to return to the business that was left unfinished by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act and to carry out a public consultation on whether the loophole left behind by that Act should be closed.

Good luck!

Path Signs In The Snow.

Holmfirth 68. Went missing in the first lockdown but now reunited with it’s path.
Holmfirth 112 gets a pasting from the north.
Holmfirth 68. A box top beauty from the 1950’s
Holmfirth 105. All aboard for Cartworth Moor.
Holmfirth 177. This way to the best path in the valley?
Holmfirth 178. This was regular “turn arounder”
Holmfirth 165. Winter wonderland sign at Cartworth.
Holmfirth 108. Free tractor.
Holmfirth 95. Wot’s not to like.
Colne Valley 92. An honorary entry from over the hill. Nice too.

Fox To Be Given Keys To Hen House?

Public Access Management On A Kirklees Footpath

The National Farmers Union & Country Landowners Association’s  suggestion to give farmers powers to close and divert public rights of way where they cross fields containing livestock isn’t the brightest idea they’ve ever had. It’s like suggesting the local fox can be trusted with the keys to the hen house. Normally it could be laughed off but we live in a world where the people in charge are uniquely qualified to nod it through by virtue of being both a) stupid enough and b) extreme enough.

Here’s a link the Ramblers much more sensible position on the issue.

Council That Can’t Afford To Maintain It’s Public Rights Of Way Network Buys Hotel Instead

IMG_4879
A public footpath Kirklees are responsible for in Holmfirth. There’s no cash to repair this as they’ve spent it on a hotel in Huddersfield.

Spendthrift Kirklees Council have been out shopping and bought themselves a hotel!

Is this the same Kirklees Council who for a decade have been cutting essential public services (rights of way maintenance amongst them) with the justification that they have …er..no money? 60 pence less per pound is the mantra we’ve all learnt by rote.

It seems they’ve looked down the back of the corporate sofa and found all those 60p’s !

The story is featured in what passes for the local newspaper here but of course the Council have not revealed the cost to the public of this rather lavish purchase. Obviously I think we should be told.

In other news Councillor Shabir Pandor our leader from Batley has issued a statement on the current coronavirus crisis. I’m sure blog readers will be reassured by Councillor Pandor’s assertion that “our strength is in our togetherness” and his timely advice on hand washing.

 

Management At Kirklees To “Self Isolate” From PROW’s ?

85066124_2858210757557810_7663799472429727744_n

Just a thought and not as daft as it might seem.

One thing we’ve noticed here at PathWatch HQ is just how smoothly things can go if frontline council staff are allowed to do their jobs. Things do go noticeably downhill when either management or (some) councillors are involved in just about anything Prow related. The temptation to do a dodgy deal or be “pragmatic” is just to much.

Ramsden Road, “Not To Standard But Acceptable”, Huddersfield Byway 231 and “The solution has no basis is law” episode are notable examples of the highly contagious management virus infecting straightforward Prow matters.

Applicants Chances Of Kicking The Bucket Before Kirklees Determine Modification Order “Well Founded” Says Planning Inspectorate.

IMG_0975

Well sort of… There’s not much humour in the bureaucracy surrounding public rights of way but in this fps_z4718-_14d_12_decision (1)  direction from the Planning Inspectorate the reasoning seems to be  the impending mortality of the witnesses. It would seem  the Inspectorate are of the view a good life expectancy is essential if you are ever to get off the Kirklees “Priority Matrix” for rights of way claims. You’ve got to laugh….