Bridleways and Public Footpaths: Motor Vehicles

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 9th September 2019.

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Photo of Lord Bradshaw Lord Bradshaw Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking any action to prevent damage to footpaths and bridleways by off road vehicles and trail bikes; and if so, what this action entails.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Some public rights of way allow for the legal use of motor vehicles. Footpaths and bridleways however do not. Any person riding an off-road motorised vehicle such as a trail bike on a public footpath or bridleway is committing a criminal offence and such issues are for the police to deal with.

Byways open to all traffic do carry vehicular rights and are managed by local highway authorities. Local authorities have the power to make traffic regulation orders to close routes to motorised vehicles if any problems occur, provided they fully consider and respond to any representations they receive about a proposed order.

In response to last year’s report from the House of Lords Select Committee on the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, Defra is currently working with Natural England and stakeholders to assess current use of traffic regulation orders and refresh the guidance for local authorities.

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