Letter: Four wheels bad

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Few people seem aware that so far from curbing the car (letter, 5 October), county councils are engaged in changing Rupps (roads used as public paths) to Boats (byways open to all traffic), thus opening up hitherto quiet, unspoilt areas to that gas-guzzling menace of the countryside, 4x4 vehicles.

These then proceed to reduce these paths in some cases to mud lagoons impassable to all other users. This is all due to section 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, promoted by the Thatcher government with its obsession with the motor car. Voluntary local groups are struggling to raise funds to force inquiries into these changes of status.

Mr Blair should direct county councils to stop issuing these orders until the law can be reconsidered. I understand that our local West Sussex County Council is reluctant to issue such orders but the law is forcing it to do so.

Traffic restriction orders may eventually be placed on these paths, but they are expensive and take a long time to enforce, by which time the paths have been wrecked permanently.

R LLOYD JONES

Petersfield, Hampshire

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