Scales of justice
Posted: 2nd October 2012
Off-road vehicles will remain banned from five Dorset ‘green lanes’ after a High Court judge ruled applications to open to them up to traffic were a nullity because they were accompanied by maps drawn to the wrong scale.
Countryside access group, the Trail Riders’ Fellowship (TRF), had applied for the routes to be given Byway Open to All Traffic (BOAT) status, allowing them to be used by scrambler bikes and four-wheel-drive vehicles.
But the council refused the applications for changes to be made to the county's definitive map on grounds that the maps attached to them were not to the required 1:25,000 scale but blown-up copies of ordnance survey 1:50,000 maps.
In seeking judicial review of the council’s decision, TRF argued that the maps provided were quite adequate and that any breach of the rules was de minimis.
However, dismissing TRF's case, Mr Justice Supperstone said that the law was clear that such applications had to be accompanied by a map that had originally been published to a scale of not less than 1:25,000.
The error was not trivial and could not be cured by enlarging maps which had been published at a scale of 1:50,000 to the larger scale required by the National Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, the judge ruled.