Advice on responding to DEFRA’s Consultation on the Landscapes Review

Wednesday March 16, 2022 at 11:12am
Advice on responding to DEFRA’s Consultation on the Landscapes Review

What is the Landscapes Review?

In May 2018 the government asked for an independent review into whether the protections for National Parks and AONBs are still fit for purpose. In particular, what might be done better, what changes will help and whether the definitions and systems in place are still valid. The review’s final report was published on 21 September 2019. It was led by Julian Glover and can be read here.

Although the Landscapes Review does not touch on the use of motor vehicles the Government response has a section on ‘managing visitor pressures’, which includes the impact of recreational motoring on green lanes. The full response can be read here.

The threat

DEFRA’s consultation goes further and includes questions on whether or not the Government should legislate to restrict the recreational use of motor vehicles on unsealed and minor tarmac roads, either within protected landscapes or everywhere. The relevant section and questions can be read here.

This represents a clear and present threat to your enjoyment of motorcycling in the countryside.

Time to act

The time for venting on social media is over, it’s time to share your opinions directly with policy makers.

The deadline for submission is 9 April and we are looking to engage all motorcyclists and the wider motoring public to respond. 

What we are requesting you do.

The organisations representing motorcycling Green Roads interests will be putting forward detailed responses, which will contain technical arguments. This work is supported by LARA and the NMC, backed up by the latest evidence.

We are asking for people to focus on core points (see below), as a significant response to these will carry weight. There is no need for you to respond with complex arguments in this initial call for views. It could be that you unintentionally conflict with efforts on your behalf by the representative organisations.

How to submit your response.

·        Be polite, restrained and measured. Responses that are aggressive, dismissive, abusive or defamatory will be disregarded.

·        Respond as a member of the public and not a member of an organisation.

·        Use your own words to make your response personal and individual.

·        Please keep your response focussed. Be succinct and authentic talk about the things you feel strongly about.

·        Remember to make it very clear which questions your comments relate to (13-17).

·        Never cut and paste your answers from this or other documents; use your own words.

Short on time?

Go to the online questionnaire fill out your personal details and complete questions 13-17 only. Be sure to click through to complete your submission 

Do you support any of the following options to grant National Park Authorities and the Broads Authority greater enforcement powers to manage visitor pressures? Tick all that apply.

-           Issue Fixed Penalty Notices for byelaw infringements

-           Make Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

-           Issue Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to control the amount and type of traffic on roads

Please give reasons for your answer NO/IGNORE

Should we give National Park Authorities and the Broads Authority and local highway authorities additional powers to restrict recreational motor vehicle use on unsealed routes?

-           Yes

-           NO

-           Unsure

Please give reasons for your answer

For which reasons should National Park Authorities, the Broads Authority and local authorities exercise this power? (select all that apply)

-           Environmental protection

-           Prevention of damage

-           Nuisance

-           Amenity

Other (please state) IGNORE

Should we legislate to restrict the use of motor vehicles on unsealed unclassified roads for recreational use, subject to appropriate exemptions?

-           Yes – everywhere

-           Yes – in National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty only

-           Yes – in National Parks only

-           NO

-           Unsure

Please give reasons for your answer

Got more time? Respond via email

A considered well-constructed email that clearly identifies what you are responding to has the benefit of introducing personal and alternative perspective that are not constrained by the limitations of the questions.

If you do decide to take a more personal approach sending an email it should be emailed to:

Points you may wish to include in your response

·        your personal circumstances and relationship with the countryside including your love of it and that motorcycling on Green Roads is about embracing the countryside not destroying it.

·        include any relevant professional / vocational experience of green roads and countryside access.

·        responsible motorcyclists share the government’s aim of preserving the countryside including the network of Green Roads for everyone to enjoy.

·        your concerns on how the government response strays from the spirit of the Landscape Review (doesn’t mention vehicles) and Landscapes for Everyone, targeting motorcycling on Green Roads.               

·        how you believe your motorcycling on Green Roads contributes to rural and national economies with your chosen pastime.

·        how you and your fellow motorcyclists contribute to vital local conservation and community projects.

·        that you already feel discriminated against due to motorcycling on unsealed roads already being severely restricted with 350,000 miles of highway available, 120,000 of which is already traffic free leaving less that 2% (6000) available for you to enjoy.

·        why you choose to enjoy the countryside on a motorcycle.

·        how you successfully and safely share the green roads with other users when using them.

·        how green roads offer you a safer environment in which to motorcycle.

·        how accessing the countryside helps your physical and mental health, including how any personal circumstances might prohibit you accessing the countryside otherwise.

·        how you believe motorised vehicles are an important part of natural countryside cultural heritage.

·        how you believe that the actions of a minority of irresponsible users should not curtail your preferred way to access the countryside.

·        your recognition that countryside routes need to be managed, and that you accept this might involve proportionate restrictions on a minority of routes.

·        your support for the idea of greater access to the countryside including more traffic free routes - without detriment of motorcycle access.

·        how you believe you contribute to rural and national economies with your chosen pastime.

·        how you believe that industrial and agricultural pollution poses a far greater threat to the countryside than motorcycling.

·        why you believe agricultural, and forestry generate a similar level of noise in the countryside and with electric motorcycles noise levels will drop to almost silent.

Don’t feel you need to make all these points and remember to avoid complex technical arguments!

The most important thing is that you respond. Take real action – motorcycling needs you!

Auto-Cycle Union Ltd.
ACU House, Wood Street, Rugby.
CV21 2YX.
Telephone: 01788 566400