GEOFF Wilson (Letters, October 31, '4x4 users don't seek victory') is correct in saying I do not know for certain that the general public favours the outright prohibition of recreational motorbikes and 4x4s on the green lanes of Little Langdale.

But the matter could easily be settled if the Lake District National Park Authority would conduct a properly scientific consultation, designed to ascertain exactly what the public wants and expects.

Secondly, Mr Wilson is again correct in saying I cannot know the minds of 4x4 and motorbike users. All I can say in reply is that, having been active in the green lanes movement for nearly 20 years, I have met no recreational vehicle user who steadfastly believes that when he is long gone, his sons and daughters will be riding motorbikes and driving 4x4s along green lanes. On the contrary, those vehicle users I have met tend to acknowledge they are on borrowed time, and that while they will continue to assert and defend their rights to take motor vehicles deep into the countryside, along unsealed tracks, they will in the long run have to give way to public demands for the beauty, peace and tranquillity that green lanes should embody.

I could be mistaken. Maybe the public will indefinitely be happy to encounter 4x4s and motorbikes, and the damage they inflict, on green lanes. But I doubt it.

Steve Pighills, in his own conciliatory letter (Letters, October 31, 'Time for all to work together') says vehicle users may have to accept restrictions on their use of the Little Langdale lanes. Following the decision by the LDNPA's rights of way committee, the only way such restrictions can be put in place is by the voluntary agreement of vehicle users.

I have seen no evidence, from anywhere in the country, of schemes for voluntary restraint that have led to a measured decrease in the volume of traffic. If restrictions are to have the force of law, rather than depend on the goodwill of vehicle users, a traffic regulation order will have to be imposed. And the LDNPA has declined either to make one or to consult on the desirability of such an order.

Lastly, Mr Pighills makes what is, on the face of it, an entirely reasonable plea: why cannot we all work together to manage Little Langdale's green lanes for the benefit of all who are legally entitled to use them?

The problem is that farmers who depend on the lanes for their day-to-day business, and members of the public who have come to the lanes to get away from motor vehicles and to enjoy the beauty of the lanes on foot, on bicycles, on horseback or in rugged cross-country wheelchairs, would have to accept they will be sharing the space with non-essential motors.

At the same time, vehicle users would have to accept that, at certain times, they will have to leave their vehicles where the tarmac stops and continue on foot, bicycle or horse.

I can see no prospect of changes of heart that would lead to vehicle users leaving their motorbikes and 4x4s behind, nor of changes of heart that would lead to non-motorised users of the lanes welcoming the very vehicles they've come to get away from.

Michael Bartholomew

Chairman, Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement (GLEAM)