Recent months have seen a number of drivers stopped by West Berkshire Police for illegal off-roading on greenlanes such as The Ridgeway, where a seasonal Traffic Regulation Order is in place between October 1 and April 30 every year.
Elaine Cox, Senior Rights of Way Officer at West Berkshire Council said: ‘The legal status of sections of The Ridgeway as vehicle free areas is very clear. If vehicles use an off-road right of way illegally, both the Police and the council may prosecute. Not only are they breaking the law, but they run the risk of causing an accident because lawful right of way users (e.g. pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders) will not expect to see them there.
‘The council cannot maintain these rights of way to withstand motorized vehicles; therefore the surfaces are easily damaged. They cost thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money repair, leaving less money for maintenance of the byways where vehicles are legally allowed to go. In short, a few inconsiderate and irresponsible people are ruining lovely countryside areas for everyone.
West Berkshire Council has placed signage at the roadside and at junctions with every restricted byway. Sadly, many of these disappear or are vandalised by the reckless few.’
Police have reminded people that the western third of The Ridgeway, from East Hendred Down eastwards to Compton Down, has restricted byway status. This means that the public does not have the right to take motor vehicles along it at any time.
More info on which greenlanes you can and can’t drive in West Berkshire can be found by clicking here.