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BILL TO BAN 'CHELSEA TRACTORS' FROM COUNTRY BYWAYS

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Off-road motorists and motorcyclists have criticised a government bill banning vehicles from unsurfaced country roa...
Off-road motorists and motorcyclists have criticised a government bill banning vehicles from unsurfaced country roads.

Craig Carey-Clinch of the Motorcycle Industry Association told BBC Radio Four's Today programme the government had gone back on its promise to allow byways to be used by off-road vehicles for sport. A ban was unfair, he said, and wouldn't protect tracks from illegal use.

But Ian Ritchie, chair of the Green Lanes Protection Group, said the bill was needed urgently. 'Vehicles are encroaching into the countryside, tearing up this ancient and precious network of green lanes,' he said.

Rather than impose a total ban, the bill will clarify which byways vehicles can use legitimately, he said. 'What is going to stop is this arcane rule that if a horse and cart once used a track it is now open to Chelsea tractors,' he told Today.

The bill will also give national parks more powers to stop the damage caused by off-roaders.

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