Safety fears over vehicles driving on public byway

PUBLISHED: 08:08 25 January 2018 | UPDATED: 08:08 25 January 2018

The byway is often used by 'green laners'. Picture: Contributed

The byway is often used by 'green laners'. Picture: Contributed

Archant

Safety fears have been raised about vehicles driving recklessly and disguising their number plates on a byway at Great Dunmow, known as Flitch Way.

The byway in January 2018. Picture: Contributed The byway in January 2018. Picture: Contributed

Rod Jones, a Great Dunmow resident, said: “The use of the byway by vehicles not showing number plates has increased, and therefore, they are not taxed or insured - what happens if they hit someone?”

“I am not against responsible use of the byway by ‘green laners’. However, as usual, it’s the minority that have caused the damage on and adjacent to the byway.

“The off-roaders are using it at night and have been seen with balaclavas to hide identity, what are they trying to hide? If you approach them it normally ends in abusive behaviour.”

The Broadcast reported in 2013 about fears that 4x4 drivers could damage the A120 bridge at Dunmow by latching metal chains around the stanchions and pulling their vehicles up the grass verge from the byway.

Highways England said they installed concrete bollards in March 2013 to prevent this.

However, a few months later, Councillor Susan Barker, deputy leader of Uttlesford District Council, said these had been pulled out.

Mr Jones said: “The irresponsible behaviour has to be stopped. This can only be achieved by a concerted effort by Essex County Council (ECC) and the police.

“The byway is so narrow in places that bikes, motor bikes, pedestrians and 4x4 have to occupy the same space with limited visibility of what is approaching.

“How long before an incident occurs that could and should have been prevented.

“The number of offences occurring should have been enough for the police and ECC to take action.”

Cllr Barker, who is a member of Uttlesford District Council’s highways panel, has pledged to put the issue on the agenda at an upcoming meeting.

Cllr Barker said: “I think in this location that closures or resurfacing may not be the solution as I believe that it is the water as much as the byway that is the attraction and highways may need to work with the Environment Agency to look at protecting both the by way and the river.”

Essex Police has said officers will be reviewing footage of vehicles using the byway to see if any offences had occured.

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