|LARA negotiate a positive outcome for classic motoring event. The Bristol Motor Club’s Allen Trial (first run in 1946) will still be able to use one of its best test sections thanks to a carefully thought-out traffic regulation order made by Bath and North East Somerset Council. See press release for details.|
A 'good news' piece of information, extracted by LARA:
‘Higher Level Stewardship’ does not completely bar motor sport events.
Over the last decade motor sport organisers using farmland on an occasional basis have sometimes fallen foul of ‘agri-environment schemes’, where landowners are paid by the government to protect and enhance the environment on their holdings. We have had at various times ‘Countryside Stewardship’ and ‘Environmentally Sensitive Areas’ and, in 2005/6, the widespread introduction of the ‘Single Payment Scheme’. The guidance initially issued by defra for the Single Payment Scheme was so negative towards motor sport on farmland that the Motoring Organisations’ Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA), on behalf of its members, sought judicial review of the guidance, leading to defra changing its position much to our advantage.
In the last couple of years LARA has had reports of long-established events losing their traditional sites because the owners were electing to join the ‘Higher Level Stewardship’ scheme, administered by Natural England, and in joining were being given to understand that there was a stark choice: motor sport of HLS cash, but not both.
LARA took this up with defra and Natural England, and the latter has now written explaining clearly that existing motor (and other) events are not simply stopped by a landholding going into HLS. It is a matter for discussion between the Natural England case officer and the landowner, and (says NE), “.... I would expect any prior agreed activities to be able to continue.” Natural England has also offered to assist with sorting out any case where difficulties continue.
Agri-environment schemes look to be here to stay, in one form or another, and it is important that motor sport’s occasional and irreplaceable use of farmland is able to fit in with the needs and aspirations of conservation agencies.
Problems in Powys
A decision by Powys Magistrates has put the future of all byways open to all traffic at serious risk.
Powys County Council has, over several years, made a series of temporary traffic regulation orders prohibiting motor traffic (and in some places all types of traffic) from three Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) in the county. These routes are commonly known as ‘Water Break Its Neck’, ‘Moelfre City’, and ‘CR 127’.
Powys County Council’s orders were made on the basis of public safety, because (the council says) the routes are badly out of repair and therefore dangerous if used. Temporary traffic regulation orders are intended to be used for reasonably short periods while repairs are carried out, not to be repeatedly continued in this way.
A local rights of way user, Chris Marsden, tried to get Powys County Council to carry out basic and essential repairs, but with no luck. In the end Chris served a notice on the Council under the provisions of section 56 of the Highways Act 1980, and when this had no effect, he took the Council to the Magistrates’ Court in Brecon in July 2012, seeking an order that the routes should be repaired in a reasonable time.
The case went disastrously wrong for Chris and, potentially, for byway and unsealed unclassified road users everywhere. The Magistrates preferred the Council’s view that temporary traffic regulation orders suspend the duty to repair highways; that BOATs do not have to be repaired for the passage of vehicles; and that the alleged high cost of repairs is a valid reason not to make and order. Chris was hit with a thumping costs award in favour of Powys County Council of approaching £20,000.
Decisions of a Magistrates’ Court are not ‘legal precedent’, but they do inform councils and others of ‘how the wind blows’, and within days of this decision the outcome was being networked around highway authorities as a complete ‘get out of jail free’ card as regards their duty to repair unsealed highways (and, potentially, sealed roads, too). Powys County Council also later contacted other highway authorities seeking financial help in opposing any appeal on the basis that this decision is just what they need.
Chris Marsden has bravely decided to appeal to the Crown Court in Merthyr against the Magistrates’ decision. This appeal takes the form of a rehearing of the case before a Crown Court Judge, and requires counsel and solicitor to represent Chris. The cost of this appeal, win or lose, is enormous, and LARA (together with a number of member organisations) is backing the appeal financially and with whatever expertise we can bring to bear. This is not a case that we want to lose.
This appeal will empty LARA’s Fighting Fund if Chris loses, and will still make a sizable hole in it if he wins. We are talking about tens of thousands of pounds here and we need your help. Please make a donation to the Fighting Fund (either by the PayPal link on this site, or by cheque) or pledge a higher level of support in the event that the appeal is lost ‑ or, better still, both.
Please send cheques to ‘LARA Fighting Fund’, c/o 45 The Fairway, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE3 5AQ and we will acknowledge.
Alternatively you can Donate here.
For further information please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The environment secretary has urged the public to wash their dogs and boots and even their children after visiting wooded areas, to help stop the spread of a fungus which is killing ash trees. LARA would urge off-road and green lane recreational motorists to likewise and clean their vehicles after a day out. Most trail and competition bikes will probably get a good clean as a matter of course, but larger four-wheeled vehicles may only get 'the shiny' parts cleaned. Please make a greater effort to remove all muck from the underside of your vehicle.
|International Six Day Trials - take a look at our 'links' page for more.|
|The Motoring Organisations' Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA) is an umbrella organisation that brings together the leading national associations in motor sport and recreation. LARA promotes and advocates responsible and sustainable motor sport and recreation, and offers advice and training on all aspects of land use.|
|Please note that the LARA HQ has changed. We no longer support a postal address - all communications to be electronic. All e-mail should be addressed as below. It will then be forwarded to the appropriate person.
Our former postal addresses of PO Box 40, Knighton and PO Box 142 Newcastle upon Tyne are now closed. All communication via email with or without attachments. We ask that you amend your records.