Fringe Box



4x4s To Be Banned From Ash BOAT All Year Round

Published on: 19 Mar, 2013
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2013
Byway No. Showing damaged caused by motor vehicles

Byway No. 521 ‘Drovers Way” showing damaged caused by motor vehicles

Report and photos by Tom Fowler

A Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) is to be imposed on a Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT), known as ‘Drovers Way’, in Ash because of damage caused by 4×4 vehicles.

The TRO which will come into operation on the April 26th was agreed at Guildford’s Local Committee meeting. The order will be effective all year round.

The committee agreed the proposal at a meeting that took place on Wednesday, March 13, in order to prevent  further damage to the surface of the BOAT.

4x4s have already been banned from using the route temporarily in winter and barriers have been placed at entrances to stop them. But heavy damage has already been caused and it was feared that if the restriction was not permanent the problem would continue.

Barriers that have up until now prevented access to four wheeled vehicles for part of the year only

One of the barriers that have up until now prevented access to four wheeled vehicles for part of the year only

Before the ban, 4x4s, were driving on the BOAT on occasion, according to neighbouring residents, as late as 11pm. The vehicles had created deep ruts making it difficult or impossible for horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians to use the route.

The byway, which runs through a Site of Nature Conservation Importance, joins the northern part of Drovers Way to Ash Green Lane East and has been subject to a seasonal TRO from September 30th to May 1st each year.

In a county wide assessment the BOAT is assessed as ‘condition 3’, ‘in need of significant repair – whole route or substantial sections of route in poor condition e.g. deep/founderous mud and/or significant rutting/erosion’.

A council document showing the BOAT route

A council document showing the BOAT route

Surrey Police and the Council for the Protection of Rural England supported the proposal for an all year TRO along with the Ash Parish Council, who wrote a letter of support.

But a spokesperson for the Open Spaces Society said: “It would seem that Surrey County Council’s (SCC) proposal to permanently prohibit 4x4s from using this BOAT is based on a lack of resources to carry out the necessary repair work.”

And objector to the TRO, Peter Jones stated, “SCC seeks to discriminate against certain types of users, although it gives little justification for doing so. It would seem SCC has decided certain of its people are more entitled to the pleasure of the byway than others.”

Fellow objector Mr Butcher said that a further temporary TRO should be made so that the route can be be repaired through draining and offered assistance to provide a more sustainable byway.

Dale Wyatt of the Green Lane Association objected to the proposed order on the grounds that it was  unlawful.

A Surrey County Council (SCC) spokesman replied to the objections saying: “The decision to prohibit 4x4s is not based on a lack of resources. Improvements to the surface and ditching works were carried out last autumn to repair the ruts and wallows caused by 4-wheeled traffic.”

Council notice posted by the byway

Council notice posted in January by the byway warning users of the proposal agreed at the Local Committee meeting

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