The Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA) and the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC) have formalised their existing partnership by agreeing a memorandum of understanding to combine joint strengths to further enhance the lobby around green roads, other unsealed highways and also minor sealed roads (link to MoU here). The agreement to develop the partnership follows the successful joint lobby that LARA and NMC conducted during 2022 on DEFRA’s ‘Landscapes Review’ consultation. This work led to government working more closely with motorised users on issues relating to countryside access and both organisations are soon to meet DEFRA Ministers to discuss how policy making needs to be improved.
The Memorandum establishes a framework for a cooperative relationship with the objective of developing and the promoting of good working practices to protect and advance the interests of preserving and securing motorised access to green and other minor roads and also to furthering the aims of each organisation in relation to motor and motorcycle sport activities. The partnership will also raise greater awareness of the positive contribution of motorised green roads access to hard-pressed rural economies and also the positive effect on the health and mental wellbeing of those who ride in particular.
In recent years the range of threats to motorised access to country roads, be they sealed or unsealed, has increased. With Traffic Regulation Orders threatening access to green lanes (green roads) and other highways. Traffic orders which create controversial ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ have also become an increasing threat on tarmacked highways, both rural and urban – as have Definitive Map Modification (DMMO) and Stopping up Orders for routes. Both organisations also have concerns about the recent reinstatement of the 2030 cut-off date for recording rights of way.
The LARA/NMC partnership combines the legislative and analytical experience of LARA with the lobbying and public affairs expertise of the NMC. When working together on issues, there will also be the combined strength of over 20 organisations behind activities.
NMC Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “The success of the Landscapes Review campaign last year underlined what can be achieved if we use our ‘constituency’ to best effect by combing forces on shared issues. The public highways and rights of way network is a significant national asset for the functional, recreational and leisure use of motor vehicles and that unsealed roads in particular are under continuing threat of misuse, closure and other restrictions on their use. These threats are starting to spill over to sealed roads, so problems traditionally seen as being about rights of way and other unsealed routes are becoming an issue of concern for all road riding motorcyclists."
LARA’s Dave Waterman said: “LARA was established to enable people with an interest in maintaining access to the countryside by motor vehicles to speak to government with a unified voice. Recreational motorists are in the unique position of facing the threat of wholesale loss of longstanding access rights to the public roads network as a knee-jerk reaction to the unacceptable behaviour of a small minority. Whereas the evidence is that, with constructive management measures, a reasonable level of responsible motor vehicle use benefits all those who seek to enjoy the countryside, by whatever means, and is good for people’s welfare and for biodiversity. The best way to achieve these benefits is though inclusive partnership working."
Notes to Editors
1. For further comment from the NMC please contact Craig Carey-Clinch, on 07979 757484 / email@example.com.
2. For further comment from LARA, please email Dave Waterman on firstname.lastname@example.org . Further information about LARA can be found here: https://laragb.org/
3. National Motorcyclists Council members are: The Auto Cycle Union, BikeSocial, BikeTrac, the British Motorcyclists Federation, IAM RoadSmart, the National Motorcycle Dealers Association, the Trail Riders Fellowship and the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.