Whether you are a member of dedicated 4x4 club or not, this is important so please read it...
Local Southern Area 4x4 Club affiliation with FOG and GLASS. At present there is only one that I know of which adheres to GLASS Codes of Conduct when laning that is the Wessex Hill-Runners. They are also tentatively affiliated with FOG through my organising and at present I am exploring possibilities of extending this further.
HOWEVER please note.
Due to some 4x4 clubs organising events such as Green Laning and having NO regard for the lanes they are using please think about the following:
These (unnamed) clubs are not necessarily aware of or adhering to the GLASS Codes of Conduct (further mentioned as GLASS Codes). They are showing little or no regard for the lanes they are using and leading large groups of vehicles along.
The problem in this being that firstly it gives 4wding a bad name. Secondly it leaves the lanes in a muddy, horrible mess which other people such as GLASS members have to clear up. Thirdly what they are doing is dangerous and giving the Anti-4x4 crowd ammunition to fire at us and the govt in order to get more lanes closed!
While FOG has no power to stop you from going out on these trips with these clubs, or groups FOG has at least a duty to inform you of these problems and to try to discourage you from doing things which will inevitably harm all of us.
What I am getting at is that the FOG team would like to encourage you to act responsibly and safely for the benefit of yourself, your vehicle and the rest of the 4x4 Green Lane users and crowd. This list of users also includes horse riders, ramblers, and other recreational users.
FOG does NOT condone the irresponsible, dangerous and possibly illegal use of Green Lanes for recreational 4wd use in a manner which degrades and or destroys the lanes. FOG also does NOT condone the dangerous use of 4wd recovery by unqualified, or inexperienced persons.
If you wish to participate in events organised by other groups and you believe that they are NOT adhering to the GLASS Codes then my suggestion along with the rest of the FOG Team is to politely back out and leave the group to it's own devices. The worst that can happen to you is that you get called a chicken for not going. If you DO participate you could end up getting arrested for illegally damaging a highway (yes the road laws DO cover the lanes), you could get seriously injured, or even die if someone does a bad recovery without safety precautions.
I would suggest that if your 4x4 club is organising a Green Laning event you ask the organiser if they are going to follow the GLASS Codes correctly, if they don't know what these are or say that they don't care then perhaps you need to join a different club!
Reputable clubs display the GLASS or CRAG Codes on their websites and make sure ALL members are aware of them prior to engaging on the laning event.
All in all this is supposed to be a fun and safe recreational sport that will NOT harm the environment or the lanes. So remember that and follow the codes and you'll be fine.
If you have any questions or queries about the GLASS Codes of Conduct or about Green Laning please feel free to PM me about it. No question is stupid if you genuinely wish to learn about how to do this responsibly.
I am a member of GLASS and any Green Laning event that I organise for FOG members adheres to the Codes as well.
I have included a copy of the Glass Codes of Conduct for you to read. Please remember that whilst they are NOT laws, they ARE there to help you to enjoy your laning safely whilst doing the least damage to the lanes possible.
Also, if a lane looks churned up and damaged then it is YOUR responsibility to NOT drive on it and make it worse.
If you wish to practice recovery techniques or you wish to push your 4wd to it's limits in mud holes etc then do it on a Pay & Play day as that is exactly what they are for.
There will be another Southern P&P day soon in combination with WHR.
FURTHER INFORMATION about GLASS and CRAG can be found at their respective websites:
GLASS CODES OF CONDUCT
GREEN LANE ASSOCIATION
Promoting sensible driving in the countryside
DRIVERS CODE OF CONDUCT
Ø Use only rights of way with known, proven or provable vehicular rights. If challenged, discuss; if not resolved, then leave as requested until status is rechecked.
Ø Keep to the defined track. Detour only to pass immovable obstructions. Report any obstructions (including low branches) to the Highway authority and the local GLASS Area Representative. Be critical of your own abilities and equipment when assessing an Obstruction; it is your right to Abate a non-lawful Obstruction, but do not commit yourself to a bigger task than you are equipped for.
Ø If the route is not obvious on the ground, ask locally, or check on the maps held at the Highway authority offices or consult the local GLASS Area Representative.
Ø Travel at a quiet and unobtrusive pace and as slowly as practicable; we recommend a maximum of 12 mph when in a 4x4 and on an Unsurfaced Right of Way (URoW). Ensure your vehicle is fully road-legal, URoW are subject to the same laws as surfaced roads.
Ø When travelling in groups, keep to a small number - four or less. Split larger parties up and either use a different route or allow a good interval to elapse before following.
Ø Do not travel on URoW when they risk being affected beyond a point of natural recovery once the weather improves. If need be, walk some or all of the route first to determine its suitability. Do not use URoW that maybe damaged by the wheel pressure applied by your vehicle.
Ø Avoid damage to trees, hedgerows and boundaries. Some roads carry vehicular rights but are physically too narrow for 4x4s.
Ø Do not practice recovery techniques on any URoW. Use a winch only with extreme caution, and use only the correct equipment and techniques.
Ø Be courteous to other road users - pull over and stop your vehicle for walkers, but pull over, stop your vehicle and switch off the engine for passing horses. Thank those who move over for you.
Ø After consultations with Country Landowners Association and National Farmers Union HQ’s, "best practice" dictates that gates if they were found to be secured in an open position should be left open, and those which are found shut or swinging should be shut behind you; the Landowner might appreciate being told about a gate insecurely propped open if you see them.
Ø Keep dogs and children under supervision. Watch out for injured or trapped animals, and report all suspicious events to the landholder.
Ø Guard against all risks of fire.
Ø Take your litter home and that left by others if you see it, wherever practicable. Plastic bags can suffocate stock if swallowed.
Ø Help to keep all water clean.
Ø Remember that wildlife faces many threats and URoW are valuable habitats, take special care in spring and early summer.
Ø Follow the Country Code, but be aware that it is for your guidance only.
Remember I am always here for any questions you might have, or any doubts you have.
I am also willing to teach anyone who is local enough to visit how to read an OS map and what a Green Lane looks like etc and how to find out if the lane has a TRO on it.
Enjoy and happy laning.