A NEW action group has been formed to highlight the large amount of damage done by 4x4 vehicles and motorbikes on the tracks of the North York Moors.

This green lane erosion on moorland tracks will be the key focus of the North York Moors Green Lanes Alliance.

One of the first acts of the group has been to welcome a recent county council decision to impose an 18-month ban on recreational drivers of motorbikes and 4x4s using one such green lane, which runs north for two-and-a-half miles along the valley of the River Dove, from the car park at Lowna near Hutton-le-Hole, up to Daleside Road.

In a statement, the group said: "This had been a beautiful low-level route until the motorbike and 4x4 drivers ruined stretches of it. The ruts they caused have turned sections of the lane and the fields through which it runs into quagmires, very difficult for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

"The track used to be a favourite route to see the wild daffodils, for which this part of the National Park is famous, but the areas where they grow have been badly damaged by the motorbikes."

The temporary ban also includes walkers, horse riders and cyclists, who will need to find a route around the ecologically-sensitive southern section until it recovers, but the alliance added that when the vehicle ban ends in November 2017 they will want the county council to make it permanent.

Erosion by mechanically-propelled vehicles is an issue across the national park. Of 201 "unsealed routes" on the moors, a National Park Authority framework paper in 2012 classified 165 of them as being "highly vulnerable".

The alliance has been established to provide a forum for individuals who are experiencing problems or seeking advice. The formation of this group echoes that of similar groups in the Peak District and in the Yorkshire Dales.

The group's statement added: "We are glad to hear from anyone with particular concerns or to receive information with regard to green lane damage."