Intimidating 'green laners' blocking farmers' access to livestock and leaving older residents too scared to leave homes, locals say

Farmers in the Holme Valley say an invasion of so-called “green laners” last weekend blocked tracks with revving 4x4s and prevented them accessing livestock.

Drivers of 4x4s on one of the popular “green lane” routes in the Holme Valley exchange words with residents.
Drivers of 4x4s on one of the popular “green lane” routes in the Holme Valley exchange words with residents.

They’ve now called on Kirklees Council to make urgent repairs – and to act to stop abuse that is said to be so intimidating that some locals dare not leave their homes.

Green laning, in which trail bikes and 4x4s tackle dirt tracks, narrow lanes and winding roads, has led to convoys of vehicles arriving in the hills around Holmfirth in recent months.

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However residents are powerless to stop pastime, in which green laners use dirt tracks, narrow lanes and winding roads categorised as byways open to all traffic, or BOATs (byways open to all traffic), as it is legal and not prohibited by law.

Holme Valley South councillor Donald Firth inspects damage to a green lane route used by bikers and 4×4 drivers.

Residents living near Scaley Gate in Holmfirth said last weekend was “awful”.

They are now said to be collecting number plates to check for any vehicles not taxed and tested so that they can be reported to the DVLA.

One man said the council was ignoring the “serious problem”.

He said: “Yet again this weekend our community had to endure the horrendous revving for nearly two hours whilst they were stuck in the muddy ruts spinning their wheels.

“From 9.15am on Sunday June 27 ’til 5pm this carried on in varying degrees with convoys of between four and eight off-roaders and between two and eight motorbikes.”

He challenged the council to send a representative to check the road and note the damage caused over the last two years.

He added: “It is so bad now that neither my neighbour nor myself cannot get to our fields to feed our stock.

“This is the first time in 22 years.

“If Kirklees insist this is a legal pleasure occupation from these off-roaders and bikes destroying verges, undermining walls and decimating tracks then Kirklees must mend these ruts so the farmers, the public, walkers, horse-riders [and] cyclists can also use them.”

Kirklees Council was approached to comment.

Local councillor Donald Firth is spearheading a campaign to support farmers and other locals.

He said: “This is going to cost the council a lot of money. Scaley Gate is an adopted road and so it’s their problem.

“But it’s council taxpayers that will pick up the tab.

“This road gets worse. It’s got to a point that if something isn’t done by Kirklees Council to repair it then people are not going to get up there in their cars.

“Green laners using 4x4s will be okay, and there have been dozens in recent weeks. They have been having a beano in the mud.

“I am trying to stop these idiots to help the council. They don’t use mobile phones as they are traceable. Instead they use CB radios. And they come in convoys.

“Some residents are elderly. Some are poorly. They don’t need this. Some of them daren’t go out at weekends because they get abuse and people giving V-signs to them. It’s disgusting.

“They are at breaking point. They’ve had enough. Something needs to be done, and soon.”

Police have acted in recent weeks to seize illegal vehicles. A month ago a woman’s phone was snatched and smashed as she tried to photograph green laners near her home.

West Yorkshire Police said a crime of assault had been recorded.