LARA – Land Access and Recreation Association – has issued the following release for the attention of all recreational and sporting motorists and motorcyclists.

‘The fi rst attack was on ‘green roads’; next it will be on the network of tarmac roads in the countryside – particularly in the National Parks. If you value your freedom to drive on the minor roads of Britain, now is the time to object. 

West Road is what the name suggests: a minor tarmac road running north-south along the western shore of Thirlmere Reservoir in the Lake District. Like many such roads it gets a small and sustainable level of visitor traffi c, and is regularly used by touring motorcyclists, classic car drivers, and people simply “out for a drive”. Now Cumbria County Council is spearheading a consortium of organisations that wish to impose a permanent ‘prohibition of driving order’ prohibiting the public, with motor vehicles, from using this road at any time. Why? For the benefi t of pedal cyclists, who should, apparently, enjoy traffi c-free roads at the expense of the majority of road users.  

The promoters of this scheme say that they want to make the West Road ‘family friendly’. Well, ‘families’ actually tend not to come out at all times of the year, on all days, at all times, and in all weathers. This scheme would take away the rights of all the drivers who wish to enjoy this road, for the occasional benefi t of a limited sector of society.  

 LARA has always championed the idea of sharing Britain’s minor highways and byways, and the Government has itself introduced the designation of ‘Quiet Lane’, where all types of user are expected to respect the others. We see no good reason why simply designating the West Road as a ‘Quiet Lane’ would not be suffi cient to make it ‘family friendly’.  

There may be a case for just a summer holiday months’ prohibition of motors, or weekends only. The West Road is not going to be particularly ‘family friendly’ at 15:00hrs on a February Saturday, in a sleet shower, but those are just the conditions that the many adventurous motorists enjoy – keeping the local cafes in business in the process.  

 If you want to keep using the West Road, and want to stop the beginning of a slippery slope towards barring the private motor tourist from our countryside, then write to object, advocating instead a ‘Quiet Lane’ designation, or a time-limited prohibition of driving order.      

 Make sure you ask that the matter be considered by an independent inspector at a public inquiry. Read the publicity material from Cumbria County Council (which is available on the LARA website) and then write to: Ben Murray, Cumbria Highways, Highways Depot, Joseph Noble Road, Lillyhall Industrial Estate, Workington, Cumbria CA14 4JH. 

Head your letter ‘Proposed Cycleway Around Thirlmere Reservoir’ and ensure that it arrives by 2nd July 2010’.


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