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High Court dismisses GLEAM’s judicial review of LDNPA’s decision not to consult on traffic regulation orders

Update August 2020

GLEAM’s challenge to the Lake District National Park Authority’s (LDNPA’s) decision not to consult on traffic regulation orders (TROs) on two green lanes in the Langdale area has been unsuccessful.

LDNPA made the decision not to start the TRO process, but to pursue other options for managing these lanes, at a meeting of its Rights of Way Committee on 8 October 2019. This was despite support for TROs from the Campaign to Save Langdale Green Lanes (including a petition signed by over 370,000 people), the National Trust (the landowner), UNESCO (the Lake District is one of its World Heritage Sites), Friends of the Lake District, Ramblers and other organisations and individuals.

GLEAM had been advising the Campaign and considered that the way in which LDNPA had made its decision was not in accordance with the Sandford principle (which states that if there is a conflict between the two statutory purposes of national parks, to conserve and enhance natural beauty and to promote opportunities for recreation, the former purpose takes priority) and did not follow the rules for TROs made by national park authorities.

We took legal advice which helped clarify our views and led to us deciding to apply for permission for judicial review in December 2019. Our application was granted in March 2020, with the High Court saying that our case was ‘arguable’ and ‘signficant’. The High Court hearing of our case against LDNPA (and the Trail Riders Fellowship which was an interested party supporting LDNPA) took place remotely on 2 and 3 June. Mr Justice Dove’s judgment has just been issued (available at https://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2020/2293.html ). Unfortunately he found against us on all three grounds in our claim.

This judgment was not about whether there should or should not be TROs on the two Langdale green lanes but about whether the way in which the decision against using TROs was made was lawful. The reasons why we (and the other organisations which asked for TROs on these two green lanes) think TROs are required still stand – i.e. to protect the natural beauty of the area and the amenity of local people and non-motorised visitors using the lanes. We shall therefore continue to support the local campaign to persuade LDNPA to use its TRO powers to protect these green lanes from the problems caused by off-roading. We shall also consider whether there are grounds to appeal against the judgment.

Very many thanks to our members and to everyone else who have helped to fund our legal action, and have sent encouraging messages of support.

The GLEAM press release commenting on the judgment is here