The future of greenlaning is under threat, here’s what you can do about it

Greenlaning is under threat. The UK’s network of unsealed roads and byways allow us bikers to experience the legal thrill of riding and exploring off-tarmac. But a newly-released Government consultation is threatening our future access to those lanes.

In the Government response to the independent Landscapes Review into National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), there’s a section dedicated to assessing the impact of recreational motoring on green roads.

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The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a public consultation off the back of this. It’s asking the public for its opinions on the issues the Government has raised by 9 April 2022. Here’s where it gets worrying for us bikers.

That consultation includes questions on whether the Government should legislate to restrict recreational motor vehicles using unsealed and unclassified roads around the country, and whether that scope should be widened to all types of minor roads.

To put it simply, can and should the Government close off greenlanes and even single-track rural lanes to public traffic?

Greenlaning under threat

greenlaning lake district

Despite the fact that less than 2% of UK highways are greenlanes open for motorcycles to use, opponents of vehicles have been quick to support the proposals. Some have even gone as far to say that the consultation could signal the end of greenlaning entirely.

The Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA) and the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC), two umbrella organisations representing biking and motoring groups, have joined forces to fight this. They’re calling on bikers to act now to protect the future of greenlaning and of biking on rural tarmac routes too.

Executive Director of the NMC Craig Carey-Clinch says: “What we are now seeing is a full frontal attack on rural vehicle use, which is not just about green roads, but also tarmac routes.

“The extension of road bans via Traffic Regulation Orders to some tarmac roads during the pandemic was a sign of things to come and the DEFRA consultation implies the consolidation of this approach to further impact tarmac road motorcycling. We urge riders to respond to today’s call from the NMC and LARA and email a response to the consultation.”

So, what can we do to stop this?

There are a few ways you can make your voice heard.

Firstly, the consultation can be responded to via an online questionnaire.

It’s a rather lengthy document, but once you’ve filled in your details at the start you can skip through to section 13-17, which is the bit relevant to us. Once you’ve filled out your answers, skip through to the end to submit your response. Find the questionnaire on the DEFRA website here.

Alternatively, you can send an email to [email protected] by 9 April 2022, saying that you do not agree with restrictions proposed in questions 13-17 of the online questionnaire and explaining why.

LARA and the NMC stress the need to respond, as a huge wave of public response will show just how unpopular these proposals are, but also keep responses polite (abusive or rude responses will be ignored), clear, and concise.

Once you’ve responded, share this article and encourage your mates to do the same. Without it, the joys of greenlaning may be lost for good.