Surface Standards for Unsealed Public Roads

We are pleased to announce the publication of a major new LARA report on the Surface Standards for Unsealed Public Roads. This LARA report, and the associated LARA paper giving the View of the Courts, set out the legal framework for deciding on the most appropriate surface for unsealed BOATs and unclassified roads, and the legal requirements for maintenance and repair. The report is available on the LARA – Publications page of this website.

The Reference Documents section of the report includes a short list of publications setting-out how to achieve and maintain that ‘appropriate surface’. These reference documents include two excellent publications from the USA where ‘dirt and gravel’ roads are considered quite normal for minor roads in rural areas.

This is the third of the four LARA reports intended to ‘shadow’ the four principal topic areas of the MSWG.

2026, or 2031, or …?

We have been waiting a long time for the implementation of the rights of way provisions in the Deregulation Act 2015, which will finally give effect to the remaining provisions in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. The uncertainty caused by Brexit has led to the specialist DEFRA officers being reassigned, and the work of the Stakeholder Working Group being put on ice.

This hiatus has caused a lot of worry to organisations directly affected by the 2026 ‘cut off’ for making changes to the definitive map of rights of way, and pressure is mounting on the government to delay the cut-off back to 2031, as CRoWA 2000 already allows.

On 15th March LARA submitted a question about the need for this delay to the current Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee inquiry; LARA also co-signed a letter, dated 22nd March, from The Ramblers to Michael Gove, the Secretary of State. By coincidence, or not(?), this proposed delay is to be debated in the House of Lords on the afternoon of Tuesday 2nd April 2019, lead by Lord Greaves, a Lib-Dem peer with particular interests in outdoor recreation. 

Is there a head of steam building here?

Anti-Social and Unlawful Motoring in the Countryside

We are pleased to announce the publication of a major new LARA report on Anti-Social and Unlawful Motoring in the Countryside. This LARA report, and the associated LARA paper on Driving Conduct and Traffic Offences, explain what is anti-social and what is unlawful, with an explanation of the measures already available to tackle both. The report is available on the LARA – Publications page of this website.

This is the fourth (although only the second to be published) of four LARA reports intended to ‘shadow’ the four principal topic areas of the MSWG:

  • The status of unsealed unclassified roads. LARA report published September 2018.
  • Traffic regulation: orders and other measures. LARA report to be published Summer 2019.
  • Surface standards and repair. LARA report to be published Spring 2019.
  • Anti-social and unlawful motoring. LARA Report published March 2019.

We welcome all comments, and suggestions for clarification or improvement. LARA and its Member Organisations are ready and willing to work with highway authorities, the police, and non-motorised user groups, to address anti-social and unlawful motoring in the countryside.

The Lake District – A Cultural Landscape Under Threat

In October 2017 a ‘Save the Lake District’ lobby group presented a petition to the CEO of the Lake District National Park Authority, requiring the Authority to start proceedings for a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to close a network of green lanes in the central Lake District to recreational motor vehicles. The petition continues to run at https://www.savethelakedistrict.com/home, is full of false statements and misrepresentations, and creates an apparently widespread perception of guilt whilst providing no option to challenge the claims made. In 2018 the lobby group further petitioned the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO asserting that by not banning recreational motor vehicles the Lake District National Park Authority was violating its then recently achieved World Heritage status.

Local recreational motor vehicle interest clubs led by LARA’s North Region Liaison prepared a critique report to UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee which exposes and refutes the many false claims and misrepresentations included in the Save the Lake District papers. The report was copied to the Lake District National Park Authority and Historic England in order that they were also made aware of the many false claims in the Save the Lake District papers.

You can read the report on the Papers and Reports by Others page of this website.

Driving Conduct and Traffic Offences

We’ve just published another new LARA paper, titled Driving Conduct and Traffic Offences and sub-titled Enforcement Against Anti-Social and Unlawful Motoring in the Countryside. This sets out the main types of anti-social and unlawful motoring that can take place on unsealed roads, public rights of way, and other land, and lists the traffic offences available to tackle such behaviour. It is a companion paper to the forthcoming LARA Report on Anti-Social and Unlawful Motoring in the Countryside (to be published during Spring 2019). You can read or download the new paper from the LARA – Papers and Reports page.

18 Years of Access Legislation

We’ve just published a new LARA paper, titled 18 Years of Countryside Access Legislation and sub-titled A Review of Changes Affecting BOATs and Unclassified Roads. This is a snapshot of all the countryside access legislation, as it affects the use of mechanically-propelled vehicles in the countryside, from the CRoW Act of 2000 right up to the end of 2018 (and nothing has changed in the last three months). We explain when legislation has been commenced, and when it has not (yet), with an emphasis on what various user groups should do now, and what they should not. You can read or download the paper from the LARA – Papers and Reports page.

VNUK Update

“The VNUK threat has not gone away but the direction of travel is looking more favourable and we will continue to lobby on behalf of all our members and stakeholders.” 

See the latest from the MSA here

Cumbria – The Old Coach Road

The Old Coach Road is approximately 8 km of unsealed unclassified county road in the parishes of St. John Castlerigg & Wythburn, Threlkeld, and Matterdale. It was significantly damaged during Storm Desmond in December 2015.

Requests to Cumbria County Council, the Lake District National Park Authority, and others, failed to release the funds necessary for its repair, so the Cumbria Trail Riders Fellowship (CTRF) set up a crowd-funding process embraced by the national Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF), the Green Lane Association (GLASS) and the Trans Euro Trail community.

The road is now repaired for all users, whether they be walkers, cyclists, horse riders, farmers, paragliders, motor vehicle users or any other type of user. You can read more about this restoration project: