Are you affected by green-laning?

Green-laning is a popular outdoor activity that lets people explore the countryside using off-road vehicles on unpaved tracks known as green lanes.

Under legislation, many green-lanes are designated as “byways open to all traffic,” giving the public specific rights to use these routes, including vehicular access, if they are recorded on the definitive map.

For landowners, certain rights and responsibilities apply when green lanes cross their property:

Right to Control access: Landowners have the right to control access to their land, but they cannot necessarily prohibit green-laning entirely. Public access rights are subject to the definitive map and any agreements or restrictions in place.

Maintenance: Landowners are typically responsible for maintaining the surface and boundaries of green-lanes that cross their property. They may also apply for modifications or diversions of these routes, subject to certain procedures.

Trespass and Liability: Landowners can take action against trespassers, but prescriptive rights may establish a public right of way over time. Landowners must also take precautions to prevent accidents on their property.

Landowners can form agreements with local authorities or organisations to manage green-lane access more effectively, which may include seasonal closures or vehicle restrictions. These restrictions must be clearly defined and reasonably applied to be legally enforceable.

If landowners want to change, remove, or add green-lanes to the definitive map, a public consultation process is necessary. Engaging with local authorities, user groups, and interested parties ensures compliance with legal requirements and transparency.

How can we help

Balancing private property rights and public access is crucial. If you are a landowner concerned about green-laning on your property, seek guidance from a legal adviser to ensure compliance with restrictions and requirements. You can can contact our Agriculture and Rural Affairs team on 01606 334309 or email

Mike Bracegirdle

Mike Bracegirdle


This article was first published in the December edition of The Farmart magazine.