Update 8 October 2019

The Lake District National Park Authority has today decided that it will not start the process that would lead to a Traffic Regulation Order on fell lanes at Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell.  With the notable exception of the chair of the committee, members supported the officer recommendation that a voluntary management group be set up for the Tilberthwaite route.  

We are very disappointed at this decision. The voluntary management approach has been used for a number of years and has, in our view, failed. Both routes are classified as red under the current system which indicates that they are busy and sites where potential conflicts will is likely to occur. The Park Authority has failed to put the conservation of the natural beauty of the area first.

A meeting of the Rights of Way Committee took place on Tuesday 8th October at the Lake District National Park Authority, where the future management of the motorised use of two fell lanes at Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell was discussed. A national park officers' report recommended against starting the formal process that could lead to a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) that would restrict motorised access for motorised recreational vehicles on both routes.

Read the report here: https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/visiting/things-to-do/green_roads/future-management-of-tilberthwaite-and-oxen-fell-roads 

The report recommended an approach on the Tilberthwaite route that would involve a partnership management group made of interested parties. The High Oxen Fell route would be monitored. 

Friends of the Lake District is very concerned that the voluntary approach is being relied upon in this instance. This has been tried in the past through a scheme called the Hierarchy of Trail Routes (HOTR). The routes are assessed into amber, red and green categories. Both routes in question are classified red, meaning they are under the greatest pressure, that there may be environmental issues plus the potential for misunderstanding or conflict with other users. It is recognised that repairs have been carried out to the Tilberthwaite route but this does not deal with the conflicts between users. 

The Environment Act 1995 sets out the purposes of National Parks considers that where conflict exists between the first aim of conservation and the second aim of promoting understanding and enjoyment - then conservation should take priority. The HOTR scheme identifies the problems associated with routes classified as red. We believe a conflict exists here so conservation should take priority. 

Friends of the Lake District is disappointed with the recommendation. Whilst recognising that any TRO has to be well founded legally, we consider that the Park Authority has missed an opportunity to place conservation of natural beauty at the heart of its activities. This is something that the recent Glover Review of National Parks emphasises. We would urge the Committee to consider recommending a formal consultation on the introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order.

You can read Friends of the Lake District comment on this issue to date on our 4x4 Traffic on Fell Roads Hot Topics Page