‘Untold damage’ caused by 4×4 drivers in Shropshire

4x4 drivers Shropshire

A group of 4×4 drivers are being warned they could face legal proceedings after being spotted driving along a Shropshire river.

Several off-road vehicles were photographed by a member of the public who reported the group to the Environment Agency. In a tweet, Chris Bainger, Environment Agency fisheries technical specialist for Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire, said “this is not okay”.

“Rivers are sensitive ecological environments, not green lanes.”

Anyone who is found to have driven along a river could be subject to criminal proceedings under the Wildlife and Countryside Act or civil proceedings for trespass. Owners of riverbanks own up to the centre point of a river. Anyone entering a river and crossing over the centre point should have permission from the owners of both banks.

‘Directly crushing any ecology’

Chris Bainger said: “Do they realise the harm they may be doing?

“They are directly crushing any ecology and while some fish like trout and larger juvenile salmon may be able to get away, small salmon won’t escape. Plus, if there are a number of vehicles following each other they are damaging the sensitive gravel on the riverbed.

“That means fish will be less able to successfully spawn later in the year, additionally the churned up sediment smothers the river bed and the small creatures that live within it. Those are an essential part of the food chain for larger aquatic wildlife in the river. The knock on effect is longer term stress on the localised environment.”

The Environment Agency is urging people with evidence of anyone driving down a river bed to contact the police. Alternatively, crimes can be reported anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 055 111.

Earlier this month, police were searching for a green 4×4 “with loud exhaust” after it was seen “tearing up the golf course” near Telford, Shropshire.

In a tweet, Telford Police said: “We are looking for it now. There were players on the course so you can appreciate how dangerous it was.”


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1 reply
  1. Roger Taylor
    Roger Taylor says:

    Please check your FACTS before making such a statement.
    There are several historical roads with legal vehicular rights; Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATS); Other Roads With Public Access (ORPAS) and Unclassified County Roads (UCRs), which use river beds and have been in use consistently for hundreds of years. These roads have been used by horses, herds of sheep and cattle, horse and carriage, heavy carts and teams of heavy horses, steam traction engines and lorries, Ford model Ts and Austin 7s right up to Landrovers and motorbikes. These roads used particularly gravel river and stream beds instead of using roads which became utterly impassable, particularly during adverse weather. Check the Diaries of Samuel Pyppes for facts. Check out the website for Britain’s ‘wet roads’ for more facts. The most iconic is Violets Lane in Hertfordshire – Europe’s longest ford. It is a groundwater fed stream – so as the current level of groundwater in the area is low, it is currently dry. On Strata Florida in Wales, you cross the river seven times. It is an offence to drive, cycle or walk in a river bed under all other circumstances, and as a responsible Green lane driver I would report ANYONE deviating from the legal thoroughfare. I would suggest looking at the Green Lane Association (GLASS) website for an authorative view.
    Your accompanying photograph shows your lack of knowledge as it appears to show two vehicles driving along an unsurfaced right of way through a large puddle, caused by lack of drainage having a substantial bank on one side, and a significant wall on the other. NO ONE would build a wall of those dimensions along the edge of a river or stream. It would be undercut and collapse due to the flow of water.
    If you wish to report such activity, and rightly so, please seek an opinion from those who are an authority on such matters ie GLASS. If such antisocial activity is taking place they would wish to know and work with any Authorities to help in stopping it.


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