HC Deb 27 July 1927 vol 209 cc1226-7
37. Major GLYN

asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take steps to empower local authorities to prohibit motor vehicles from using tracks and bridle paths across down country, seeing that if motor vehicles continue to use such tracks without restriction it may devolve upon the local authorities to maintain such tracks as roads?

Colonel ASHLEY

I am advised that any person who, without the consent of the owner of the soil, drives a vehicle on a foot or bridle path or on any land which is not, a public carriage-way, commits an act of trespass. It would be a matter of considerable legal difficulty to give local authorities any control over such use of private land.

Major GLYN

In the case of a right-of-way which has been established by long custom on land which is not claimed by private owners, what is the position?

Colonel ASHLEY

If land is not claimed by private owners, then surely it must be under the jurisdiction of a public authority, and, if so, it will probably be a charge on the public.

Major GLYN

Under those circumstances, if motor vehicles use them, have the public authority power to close such roads if they are not metalled roads?

Colonel ASHLEY

I should require notice of that question.


Are not recognised bridle tracks which have been open for horses for centuries open for motor vehicles?

Colinel ASHLEY

If they are only open to horses, they will not be open to motor vehicles.


Is it not a fact that the owners of these lands are good enough to allow the public to use them, and why should anybody else interfere? Should we not rather encourage owners to do this?


Is it not within the power of a local authority to prohibit the use of these tracks by motor vehicles without any fresh legislation?


That is a question of law.