The Manx government is introducing what it’s calling ‘an action plan’ to promote the long-term management of the island’s green lanes.
A Green Lane Management Strategy has been produced after consultation with a number of organisations, including Green Lanes Our Heritage, representatives of the various user groups and government departments.
The proposed measures will be implemented over the next two years ‘to promote sustainable use of these unpaved highways and to address concerns raised about some of the island’s upland tracks’.
Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly MHK said: ‘People on all sides of the debate are extremely passionate about the future of our green lanes. The Department has listened to the interested parties and is now bringing forward what it believes is a workable solution. We will continue to promote the active involvement of volunteer groups and I would encourage everybody to work together to secure the sustainable future of an important and valuable natural asset.’
The Department of Infrastructure management plan does not propose the large-scale closure of tracks to motor vehicles, but does involve closing some dead-end routes and introducing one-way systems on other routes.
There is to be improved signage on the tracks, along with better quality maps showing preferred routes and highlighting the locations of vulnerable tracks.
The Department of Infrastructure will continue to support the Green Lane User Group. It is intended that the group will, over time, become more heavily involved in managing the work being carried out by volunteers and also in monitoring the use of the tracks.
The Green Lane User Group is aiming to promote an ‘Adopt a Track’ initiative, with individuals or groups taking responsibility to undertaking small routine maintenance on the tracks in order to keep them in good condition.
The DoI will continue to operate a full programme of annual maintenance and repair, with priority being given to routes that are in most need of attention, particularly in light of seasonal variations in weather and the impact of storms.
The Green Lane Management Strategy can be viewed here.
Meanwhile, a group of interested parties has been devising a strategy for the wider management of the Manx uplands, to recognise their importance in terms of food production, recreation, heritage and biodiversity, and the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture is shortly to seek public comment on its recommendations.
The issue of the state of Manx uplands has been a hot topic in the last few years, leading to many letters from readers in the Isle of Man Examiner and Manx Independent.