Advice on responding to DEFRAs consultation on the Landscapes Review - Members

    The time has come for us to act!

    We promised you advice on how to respond to the Landscapes Review questionnaire and now it is time to make our voices heard where it could really make a difference.

    Although the Review itself did not touch upon motorised use of the countryside, the Government response included explicit reference to recreational motoring. DEFRA’s consultation went one step further and asks the public whether the government should legislate against green laning and trail riding.

    This presents a clear and present danger to all motorised users, but we have the opportunity to speak up and NOW is that time.

    GLASS are working with LARA, the TRF and other expert organisations to put together a suite of complex technical arguments in our response. Backed up by our decades of knowledge and experience, and evidenced correctly, these responses will cover the legal, political, and social implications laid bare by the review. We’re here to put forward the complexities on your behalf.

    You the countryside user and your experiences are just as important as the technical arguments. You are the experts on what you do and how and why you do it. Only you can explain the benefits your hobby affords you as an individual, a member, a volunteer, and the landscapes and communities that you visit. We need you to join us in responding by adding a personal narrative in addition to our technical response.

    If you have a professional interest in green laning please put any relevant arguments forward too. Your business matters and you are the expert on how issues affect you as a professional.

    There are two ways to respond:

    1. by an online questionnaire, or
    2. by emailing your response to DEFRA’s consultation letter.

    The online questionnaire

    The online questionnaire is DEFRA’s preferred way of responding because it is more structured and easier to analyse responses – for them. If it is easier for you to email instead please do so using the guidance below.

    Like all online questionnaires it has to be worked though question by question.

    Whilst you may want to respond on other aspects of the consultation, DEFRA say that it is perfectly acceptable to respond only on the questions in the ‘managing visitor pressures’ section, which contains the motor vehicles questions.

    Once you have filled in your personal details it takes about 4-5 clicks to get to the ‘managing visitor pressures’ section and so therefore should be relatively easy.

    Emailing your response

    DEFRA says that you may email your response using the address given in the Defra letter: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    If you choose to email your response:

    • Clearly state which questions you are responding to (questions 13 to 17)
    • Emails may be rejected if they do not clearly correspond to specific questions
    • Clearly state in the subject line that you are responding to the DEFRA Landscapes Review

    General advice:

    • Be polite in your response – argue for what you love to do and not against others
    • Try to be succinct – avoid submitting a long rant!
    • Use your own words – YOU are the expert on what you do and why you do it
    • Focus on the benefits of what we do
    • Remember to make it clear which questions you are responding to (email responses)

    Suggestions to include:

    Explain your views in your own words, your experiences matter. Here are some examples of what you could describe in your response. You do not need to cover all the points, choose what is most important to you.

    • Explain your interest in the issue
    • Describe what you like about your hobby, motoring, and the countryside
    • Explain the benefits you gain from motoring
    • Explain who you participate with – family, children, friends, clubs, etc.
    • Explain the ways you access the countryside – many of us are not just green laners, we may walk, cycle, horse ride too. Make sure to show how diverse a user-group we are
    • Describe how you interact with other users and share the countryside with others
    • Explain the reasons you have joined a motoring organisation and why you support it
    • If you have additional needs that mean using a vehicle is vital, explain why motoring is essential to you and the benefits motorised access gives you
    • Give examples of any activities you have undertaken that benefit the countryside – volunteer work, 4x4 response/rescue, lane repairs, litter picking, sharing advice and education with others, reporting incidents
    • If you can bring any financial information to the table please do so. Everything you spend goes back into the economy. How much do you spend on an average trip in fuel, food, accommodation, stopping at facilities along the way? How much do you spend on your vehicle, in parts/gear shops, garages, and in tax?
    • If you have any relevant professional interests or qualifications make sure to include these
    • Be an advocate for access without prejudice, make your arguments positive and in favour of access for ALL

    Those opposed to motor-vehicle use will certainly aim to respond in large numbers and so we need to counter that potential threat.

    Submit your response before 11.45pm on 9th April 2022 to make your voice heard and opinions matter!