Yorkshire Dales National Park Rules

By: Andrew Regan

Following the introduction of new legislation and in light of growing concern over the amount of damage incurred, North Yorkshire Police are joining rangers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park in an effort to stamp down on owners of off-road vehicles who use them in an irresponsible manner within the Park boundaries.

In a series of joint action days the police and rangers will be ensuring that off-roaders are aware of recent legislation changes, checking that their vehicles are legal and coming down hard on anyone breaking the law. They will be monitoring activities on public footpaths, bridleways and byways within the National Park boundaries ensuring that those using them for recreational 4 x 4 activities are doing so within the law.

As well as a new leaflet produced by the National Park, ranger Matt Neale points out: "There is plenty of information available explaining what is legally required of off-road users and exactly where they can go to pursue their recreational activities." He believes there is no excuse for off-road users to ignore the guidelines, or the law, and added: "The leaflets we've recently produced can be picked up from some petrol stations and cafes in the National Park area, or can be found on the Park's website."

Neale also points out the potential damage that can be done to the environment by off-roaders, he said: "Even a small numbers of off-road vehicles in the wrong place can have a serious effect on the tranquillity of and sensitive habitats of the area - the very qualities that draw many people to the National in the first place."

Neale is also concerned about the physical damage that can be done to the area; especially during the winter months when a driver will notice very little wear and tear on his 4 x 4 wheels or his vehicle, but the area in which he is driving can be excessively damaged. But it's not just damage from 4 x 4 tyres that causes concern, bikers are in the firing line too, and because they have the potential to be driven down smaller bridleways and footpaths, also offer most risk to other users of the National Park. Ranger Neale is determined that excessive noise and damage to the Park will be reduced by this joint operation with the police and advises that off-road users stopped by the police who do not have the necessary licenses for their vehicle will also be subject to prosecution.

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