Horse Society makes further response to new Government consultation
document on vehicle off-road access
British Horse Society knows that riders who have to dice with death
on the roads feel strongly that they should not have to worry about
encountering motor vehicles on public rights of way (PROW). However,
many such vehicles on PROW have private access rights and, as the
Society understands it, these rights would not be removed by the
For most riders, the issue is more about damage to the surface than
the surprise or, occasionally, danger of meeting a motor vehicle.
It would appear that the majority of damage, nationwide on all classes
of PROW, derives from the exercise of private rights during the
course of necessary activities, such as feeding winter stock, although
there are some sites where considerable nuisance is caused by a
small minority of the public.
The BHS is concerned that the many 'lost ways' which need to be
claimed if riders and horse-drawn vehicle drivers are to fully benefit
from their historical inheritance, may remain unclaimed if it can
no longer call on the assistance of the motorised users to help
with the necessary research. Most riders have little time to spare
for the essential time-consuming research in county record offices
and other archives that needs to be undertaken during the next 21
years to meet the 2026 cut-off date for historical claims.
Government has put in place new legislation that can be used to
deal with illegal motor vehicles on PROW, but this has not had time
to be much used. Initial cases are coming before the courts and
it is hoped that the powers available may prove to be effective
in curbing illegal usage. The Society welcomes the proposal in the
consultation document to make these powers better known, as this
should provide immediate relief in many cases.
addition, the BHS is surprised that the results of research, commissioned
by the Government into the use of Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATS),
has not had a chance to be considered before any new legislation
is contemplated. The Society will continue to work with other user
groups before making a final submission on the consultation document.