A pressure group has announced it intends to take legal action against the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) and has launched a crowdfunding campaign asking the public to help with costs.

The Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement (GLEAM) is arguing that, by allowing 4x4 vehicles to continue using two stretches of road in the Little Langdale area, the LDNPA is ‘contradicting’ one of its statutory purposes - ‘to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Lake District National Park.’

GLEAM’s interpretation of this statutory purpose is that the unsealed sections of the High Oxen Fell and Tilberthwaite roads should be “restricted to walkers, pedal cyclists, equestrians, and mobility scooters used by disabled people” to preserve the “peace and tranquility that are at the core of the national park’s special qualities.”

The two roads have been at the centre of a fierce debate for some time. In October, a meeting of the national park’s Rights of Way Committee stopped short of banning the use of 4x4 vehicles and trail bikes along them. In passionate discussions, those in favour of a ban were accused of “misrepresentations, exaggeration (and) half-truths” by Geoff Wilson, of the Motoring Organisations’ Land and Access and Recreation Association.

Dr Michael Bartholemew, chairman of GLEAM, said: “This is a crucial case for anyone who cares about the beauty and tranquillity of the Lake District, which is not only a national park but a World Heritage Site.”

He added: “Not only Lake District residents but the wider public have been dismayed by LDNPA’s decision. 

“We think the decision was unlawful. We have taken counsel’s opinion and are now inviting the public to help us get the decision quashed.”

Mr Bartholemew invited those wanting to help with legal costs to go to its crowdfunding page, accessible by searching for ‘green lanes’ on the CrowdJustice website.

An LDNPA spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that we have received a letter before action detailing proposed judicial review proceedings against the authority in respect of its decision made by the Rights Of Way Committee on October 8, 2019.”

She added the national park authority was “unable to provide any further information at this time.”