Letter: Driven to hunt

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The Independent Culture
Sir: The vast majority of 4x4 owners who use byways do so responsibly. They have a self-imposed code of conduct, which includes staying away from byways whose surface is damaged and needs time to recover. Voluntary restraint notices, which are seen as a grown-up alternative to Traffic Regulation Orders, are posted in consultation with county councils, and are adhered to by all but the inevitable, irresponsible minority who exist in every walk of life.

It is saddening to see Duff Hart-Davis (Country Matters, 6 February) resorting to the age-old emotive language of the anti-4x4 lobby, saying they "churn green lanes, bridleways and footpaths into a morass". Recreational off-roaders simply do not drive on footpaths or bridleways: to do so is against the law. Of the very few rights of way that are open to vehicles, only a tiny number are prone to excessive surface damage.

In my experience, intransigence on both sides can be put down to one factor: greed. That is what causes a small number of 4x4 owners to use the countryside without any regard for others. Likewise, it is the real reason for people wanting to ban them. Mr Hart-Davis doesn't want to share his own personal bucolic idyll with others whose presence offends him.

ALAN KIDD

Cowden, Kent

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