Motorists will no longer be able to take a shortcut down a country lane, after States Members approved a new network of pedestrian-friendly roads.
Walkers, cyclists and horse riders will have legal priority down these roads, which will have their own signs and markings. Motorists will only be able to use them if their journey is deemed ‘essential’.
The change comes after States Members voted in favour of a proposal on Wednesday from Reform Jersey's Deputy Rob Ward.
Parish Constables will now go away and produce a list of ‘designated roads’ where the new rules will apply.
The States Assembly has voted to ADOPT Deputy Rob Ward’s amended Green and quiet lanes proposal.— States Assembly (@StatesAssembly) July 15, 2020
25 FOR vs 21 AGAINST
It is likely that most existing Green Lanes will be part of the network but not necessarily all. Equally, not all the roads will have the 15mph Green Lane speed limit. New signs and/or road markings will mark these new ‘designated roads’.
Deputy Ward said: “This gives people the option to change the way they travel with the backing of government. Too many lanes are recognised as cut throughs for traffic and become the classic ‘rat run’ at times of day. The emphasis on the legal requirement to obey priorities and speed limits provides a stimulus for the behavioural change needed.”
During the Staes Assembly debate, most opponents to the plan asked how ‘essential’ travel would be defined and how the law would be enforced.
Infrastructure Minister Kevin Lewis said: “We have a Sustainable Transport Policy on its way, which will deliver much of what Deputy Ward is trying to achieve. While not perfect, the current Green Lane rules, which are enshrined in the Highway Code, do work and we already have the power in law to stop cars going down roads, except for access. This proposal is both draconian and unenforceable.”
But Deputy Ward also had supporters on the Council of Ministers.
External Relations Minister Ian Gorst said: “Let us not focus on the difficulties but the opportunities that this plan presents. It fits in with work that has already been done by others and will help us to meet our commitment to reduce carbon emissions.”
Deputy Ward originally only wanted his plan to cover the existing Green Lanes network but the parish Constables wanted more flexibility: arguing that it might not be appropriate for all Green Lanes. Equally, roads that aren't currently Green Lanes might be included. The Deputy agreed and accepted the changes. In reality, it is likely that the vast majority of the network will be Green Lanes.
Under the Jersey Highway Code, Green Lanes have a 15 mph speed limit and are 'intended principally for enjoyment by pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Motor vehicles should try to keep off these lanes and should only use them if absolutely necessary for access or for sightseeing.' This new plan raises the bar by putting it in law but it also introduces the definition of 'essential' travel for motorists. What constitutes 'essential' is yet to be agreed so it is unclear if 'sightseeing' will be allowed.
There is no set date. The Constables now have to determine which roads will join and talk to the Infrastructure Department, interest groups and others. They will also have to work out how the network will be marked and how they are going to tell people about it.
Unclear. With many parishes struggling to recruit honorary officers, no one yet knows if and how this will policed. The definition of 'essential' will also be key. If 'sightseeing' is included, will motorists - if stopped - simply say that they were enjoying Jersey's beautiful countryside?
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