Technical Report: December 2017

Governance: Raising the Bar
November 26, 2017
Welcome to Trail!
December 19, 2017

TRF Technical Director John Vannuffel sent us an upbeat end-of-year summary of actions undertaken by TRF at the sharp end of road conservation.

Here’s what he had to say:

TRF members can take pride in their achievements for 2017.  Your support for the Fellowship has enabled some 32 green roads to be saved from unjust restriction.  Furthermore, the 32 green roads we saved in 2016 remain open and well managed.

The manner in which we secured justice has provided objective evidence to protect the public interest.  The experimental TRO on Hexham Lane found that – unsurprisingly – so called “essential traffic” for access and land management caused substantially more damage than the low-impact use by motorcyclists.  Objective evidence is a major blow to those who maintain the absurd position that “non-essential” trail riding traffic is a major cause of damage to green roads.

Our success in a case delivers benefits across the whole country, rather than just for the local interest of the area in which the respective green road is situated.  Oakridge Lane is a good example of this, with the ruling affording protection to all unclassified roads.

The principle also applies where we do not perform well.  An ill-advised voluntary restraint or failure to seek or support a justified temporary TRO can have adverse effects elsewhere.  The likelihood of such mistakes is reduced by using an approach which respects the bylaws and structure chosen by TRF members, ensuring that TRF acts as the one body that it is, rather than the fragmented collection of bodies that it used to be.

Two years, ten high court cases, nine wins, five firsts in the field of traffic law & sixty-four green roads saved.

This is a lot – particularly for a relatively small organisation – though was necessary for us to (almost) ‘stand still’, as we have slightly less access now than we did two years ago.  Our performance is catching up in the Peak District, though we still lag behind where we should be ahead – as we are in every other part of the country.

Quantity of mileage aside, TRF activity is a major factor in delivering – for the wider public interest – a green road network that is of much better quality than it was two years ago.

We require more resources if we are to do more than simply ‘stand still’.  The primary requirement is for funds, followed by volunteer activity.

Trail has made a welcome return but at significant expense that cannot be accommodated within the existing level of Technical Directorate activity.  We need Trail, both as a tool to inform members and to influence stakeholders.  The quality of Trail and TRF media is an important part of our success, adding considerable value to our good work.

Improved success for the year ahead is dependent on resourcing three must haves:

  • The current level of TRF technical activity that is required to ‘stand still’.
  • Trail
  • A substantially increased level of TRF activity to get far ahead of those attacking the public interest.

At present we are only securing resource sufficient to cover the first of those must haves, so members will be given the opportunity to choose how the others are funded at our AGM.

Public Inquiries

There are reducing demands for TRF to engage with public inquiries as very few viable BOAT claims are outstanding.  This is a good thing in many respects as we can focus our resources on conserving the long established green road network instead.

Our performance at PI is at its most efficient where the trail riding community supports TRF as the lead for the case.  We are the only trail riding organisation that takes on challenges to PI decisions, so our best prospects of success lay in it having ownership of the entire case from the outset.

Arrangements whereby trail riding evidence is given over to local 4×4 organisations has resulted in our members missing out on the benefits of the TRF approach, including support from our legal team.

So, another successful year of defending public rights from people who wish to extinguish them.

What do you think about Trail?  Is it worth the cost?

Motorcycling, adventure and fraternity.


  1. Too early to say about Trail yet. I agree with others that the Byway map is not accurate so could be a liability in it’s present form. I like many others liked the format of the old forum in that it was easy to retrieve (at least recent) information, I particularly enjoyed some of the technical posts. This seems to have been lost, a pity although possibly I’m just not using it correctly yet. Stories looks a good and positive feature. The rest I have yet to explore. Early days!

Leave a Reply