- No red light for green lanes—challenge to decision not to ban motor vehicles from off-road routes dismissed (Stubbs v Lake District National Park Authority)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Local Government analysis: The High Court has dismissed a judicial review challenge to a decision of the Lake District National Park Authority to adopt a recommendation by its officers that it was inappropriate at that time to impose a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on two unsealed (unsurfaced) highways in the Lake District National Park. The challenge was brought on three grounds, relating to—(i) the Sandford Principle on how to resolve conflicts between conservation and recreation interests in the management of National Parks as set out in section 11A(2) of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 (NPACA 1949), (ii) the stage at which the duty in section 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (RTRA 1984) arises and (iii) the nature of consultation required before a TRO can be made. The court found that the Assessment Report (AR) on which the decision was based advised decision-making members of the National Park Authority correctly and did not mislead them as to the relevant legal tests. While the duty in RTRA 1984, s 122 did not arise on the facts of the case, it had been discharged in any case by the analysis undertaken in the AR. This case is a rare instance of the Sandford Principle being litigated in the courts and offers useful guidance on the interpretation and application of that principle as set out in NPACA 1949. It also confirms the stage in the decision-making process at which the duty in RTRA 1984, s 122 arises. Written by Esther Drabkin-Reiter, barrister, at Francis Taylor Building.
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