The fierce debate over the use of 4x4 vehicles in the Lake District is set to rumble on at a meeting of the Lake District National Park Authority on Tuesday (October 8).

Authority officers are advising against the introduction of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on the Tilberthwaite and High Oxen Fell roads, which lie south of Little Langdale.

Evidence for introducing a TRO – which would prevent certain vehicles using non-tarmacked parts of the routes – is “not conclusive”, says a report set to be considered by Authority members, while other management options have not been exhausted, it adds.

A number of local residents along with the National Trust are in favour of the ban, citing concerns such as the deteriorating road-conditions caused, in part, by vehicle use.

However, a Trust spokesman said there were concerns that a TRO could cause the “the problem to spread elsewhere”, adding that the body wanted to work with other organisations to manage recreational use of 4x4s in the Lake District.

Nick Fieldhouse, owner of Windermere-based off-roading experience business Kankku, welcomed a collaborative approach but said the issue of banning vehicles was not a straight forward.

“Off road driving is a highly contentious issue, much of which is because of unreal perceptions of what it is about,” he said.

“An old farm Land Rover with a Collie in the back rattling down a gravel track wouldn’t raise many eyebrows, and actually this is essentially what off road driving is all about - you get to be the farmer or National Trust Warden for the day.”

He added: “We understand that you can say it is polluting and damaging and noisy, but you would have to ban all vehicles in the valley to improve this situation.

“Make it an electric vehicle valley if you want, 100 per cent electric though, no tarmac roads let-off the scheme, and we’ll comply.”

Among the arguments in favour of keeping ‘green lanes’ (unsealed roads with public vehicular rights) in the national park open, is that it gives those with physical ailments “the means to access and appreciate the beauty that no one should ever be denied”.

An LDNPA spokesperson said: “TROs need to be thoroughly evidence-based, examining various types and levels of use and various impacts, not just opinions or perceptions.

“Legal intervention to restrict vehicles on unsurfaced public roads is possible through the National Park Authority’s powers to create a TRO, however applying TROs is a last resort for us, which follows Government guidance.”