Agenda item

Public Questions & Statements

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (see contact details at bottom of page) by midday on Friday 21 May 2021, three working days before the day of the meeting.  Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public, who have given notice, will be invited to speak:

·          At this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);

·          When the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting;

·          If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will ask anyone who may be taking a recording to cease while you speak.



It was noted that a statement had been submitted by Mr John Vannuffel as a representative of the Trail Rider Fellowship.  The statement had been circulated to Forum members ahead of the meeting due to its length so that they would have ample time to digest the information provided.


In Mr Vannuffel’s absence the Chair agreed that the Secretary should read out the statement in line with the County Council’s public participation scheme, which allowed three minutes for the presentation of a statement submitted by a member of the public.


The Secretary read out the following:


1.1We write in response to the publication of a LAF document “NYLAF Sub-Group UUR Report” and provide the following as a means to inform and assist NYLAF in formulating statutory advice.


2.1.  North Yorkshire UUR’s were surveyed in the 1950’s as part of the process of producing definitive maps and statements. Both Parish and County Councils were subject of a statutory duty to include UUR’s on the definitive map where it could be reasonably alleged that the UUR was a public path (i.e. bridlepath or footpath) or a Road Used as Public Path (“RUPP” – a public carriageway mainly used by the public for horseriding/walking).

2.2.  Where a UUR was not recorded on the definitive map and statement, there are the following possibilities:

A. The Parish Council and County Council properly discharged their legal duties and found that the UUR was a public carriageway mainly used as a carriageway that could not be reasonably alleged to be a public path or RUPP, or

B. The Parish Council and County Council were aware of the existence of the UUR but made a mistake in deciding to omit it from the definitive map and statement on the basis that it could not be reasonably alleged to be a public path or RUPP, or

C. The Parish Council and County Council were not aware of the existence of the UUR.

2.3. The law presumes that things done by authority are done correctly and properly. Conversely, the law does not presume that something done by an authority is the result of mistake.

2.4. “Ordinary road” is a term used in relation to UUR’s to denote that a road does not fall within the scope of ways that can be recorded on the definitive map and statement. Ordinary road in that context means a public carriageway mainly used by the public for the purposes of carriageway.

2.5  Ordinary roads are not public paths, restricted byways or byways open to all traffic.

2.6. Many definitive paths in North Yorkshire terminate on UUR’s and this demonstrates that UUR’s were surveyed and found to be ordinary roads providing a continuation of the highway network.


3.1. Some UUR’s in North Yorkshire were constructed after mechanically propelled vehicles (MPV) were first used as of right on the highway in 1801.

3.2. By 1831 a Parliamentary Select Committee published its report on the use of Steam Carriages on Common Roads. The report records some 43 items of legislation that provide for MPV.

3.3. The effect of the Locomotives Act 1861 was to ensure that all public carriageways created or constructed in exercise of statutory powers from thereon were intended for use by MPV.

3.4. MPV’s were first driven in 1769. The non-motorised bicycle wasn’t invented and ridden until the “draisne” of 1817 – some 16 years after Trevithick first drove a mechanically propelled vehicle as of right on an English highway.

3.5. The first motorcycle was produced in c.1863. The safety bicycle (where the rear wheel is chain driven) was invented in c.1885.

3.6. Some roads built between 1801 and 1861 were built for MPV.

3.7. Some 27 years after the Locomotives Act 1861 protected the publics entitlement to use MPV on carriageways, the Local Government Act 1888 recognised non-motorised “bicycles, tricycles and velocipedes” as carriages for the purposes of the Highways Acts.

3.8. The public did not acquire statutory power to create and build roads until the Highways Act 1864. Up to that point, the creation and building of roads was either by private individual, inclosure, or by Act (typically a turnpike act).

3.9. The Highways Act 1864 provided new powers for the public to create and build roads, and also to convert existing soft roads into hard roads. But those powers were exercisable in the context of the Locomotives Act 1861 – all powers to create, build and improve carriageways were exercised with the intention of providing for use by MPV.


At this point after nearly 4 minutes of reading the statement, it was agreed the full statement would be published as an attachment to the Minutes of the meeting, and with the Chair’s agreement that the Secretary would move on the final section to read out the suggested considerations proposed by Mr Vannuffel as follows:


7.1.  TRF respectfully suggests that NYLAF consider:


I. The UUR issue from a foundation of acknowledging the differences between a way, right of way, and the limits and conditions on entitlement to use a right of way.

II. That UUR’s and Byways Open to All Traffic are not open to all traffic. As with all highways, they are only open to traffic that travels for a legitimate purpose and does not commit a common-law nuisance or other offence.

III. Not all horse and cart traffic was/is entitled to use all carriageways, as some use will amount to nuisance. It is possible in certain circumstances for a motorcycle to be entitled to use a carriageway but not a horse and cart – e.g. where the road is narrow, or where the road passes over a weak bridge that can safely accommodate motorcycles by cannot bear the greater weight and impact of horse and cart.

IV. That a source of conflict rests in a fundamental misunderstanding as to what highways are for. As outlined herein, highways – roads if you will – primarily exist to facilitate travel by the public. They are not for particular classes of user. All classes of user have an equal entitlement to use the road, and that entitlement is limited and subject of conditions. Those conditions include a duty of care and consideration to other road users.

V. The UUR network has already been surveyed and found to be ordinary road. The question is as to whether mistakes occurred on a case-by-case basis. There is no presumption of mistake. There is a presumption that authority discharged its duties properly.

VI. That the UUR network is comprised of a variety of roads, some of which originate in the motoring era and/or were improved for use by MPV at public expense in exercise of statutory powers.

VII. That the MPV pre-dates the non-motorised bicycle and the pre-existing entitlement to use MPV on the highway was protected by statute from 1861.

VIII. “Share With Care” approach helps all users to enjoy the road. Responsible riders and drivers (whether or not in MPV or on bicycle/horse/carriage) take care to share the roads with others. It is wholly unacceptable for responsible users to be met with abuse and unfair treatment from those who have a false sense of greater entitlement to use the road.

IX. Trailriding is a traditional and proper countryside pastime that traces its roots back to the late 1800’s and was established prior to the first world war.


The Chair noted his thanks for Mr Vanuffel’s public statement submitted in support of agenda items 5 - Countryside Access Service Unsurfaced Unclassified Roads (UURs) Management Review; and 6 - Sub-group Review of NYCC's UUR Statement, and the Forum agreed to take it into account as part of their consideration of those agenda items.




Supporting documents: