Bridle Paths (Motor Vehicles).

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport. – in the House of Commons on 27th July 1927.

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Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

37.

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to empower local authorities to prohibit motor vehicles from using tracks and bridle paths across down country, seeing that if motor vehicles continue to use such tracks without restriction it may devolve upon the local authorities to maintain such tracks as roads?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I am advised that any person who, without the consent of the owner of the soil, drives a vehicle on a foot or bridle path or on any land which is not, a public carriage-way, commits an act of trespass. It would be a matter of considerable legal difficulty to give local authorities any control over such use of private land.

Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

In the case of a right-of-way which has been established by long custom on land which is not claimed by private owners, what is the position?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

If land is not claimed by private owners, then surely it must be under the jurisdiction of a public authority, and, if so, it will probably be a charge on the public.

Photo of Colonel Ralph Glyn Colonel Ralph Glyn , Abingdon

Under those circumstances, if motor vehicles use them, have the public authority power to close such roads if they are not metalled roads?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

I should require notice of that question.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Are not recognised bridle tracks which have been open for horses for centuries open for motor vehicles?

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley Lieut-Colonel Wilfrid Ashley , New Forest and Christchurch

If they are only open to horses, they will not be open to motor vehicles.

Photo of Mr Frederick Macquisten Mr Frederick Macquisten , Argyll

Is it not a fact that the owners of these lands are good enough to allow the public to use them, and why should anybody else interfere? Should we not rather encourage owners to do this?

Photo of Mr Robert Taylor Mr Robert Taylor , Lincoln

Is it not within the power of a local authority to prohibit the use of these tracks by motor vehicles without any fresh legislation?

Photo of Mr John Whitley Mr John Whitley , Halifax

That is a question of law.