§ Lord Hardy of Wath
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will take early action to prevent rights of way, whether footpaths or bridleways, or other old routes established before the development of motor vehicles, from being used by such vehicles. [HL3767]
§ Lord Whitty
It is already an offence under Section 34 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to drive a motor vehicle on a footpath or bridleway without lawful authority. The Countryside and Rights of Way Bill amends Section 34 to make it an offence to drive on a restricted byway—the new category of highway introduced by the Bill for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and drivers of horse-drawn vehicles. The Bill also provides that, for the purposes of Section 34, a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway shown on a definitive map is deemed to be such a highway unless prima facie evidence to the contrary is produced. Finally, the Bill extends Section 34 to cover not just motor vehicles but the broader category of mechanically propelled vehicles. It is not the intention of the provisions relating to restricted byways, or those relating to Section 34, to extinguish public rights to drive motor vehicles on highways but the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill extends the grounds on which traffic regulation orders may be made to include landscape and nature conservation.