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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 January 2008, 16:56 GMT
Sat-nav directions trap vehicles
Hey Flake Lane (photo courtesy of MEN Syndication)
A number of motorists have been left stranded on the muddy lane
Scores of motorists are getting trapped down a dirt-track on Saddleworth Moor after being guided there by satellite navigation systems.

Families living close to Hey Flake Lane, Delph, say some drivers have been left in tears after becoming stranded.

The lane is so narrow that vehicles have difficulty turning round and some have had to be dragged out by tractors.

As a result Oldham Council is set to put up signs warning that the lane is not suitable for motor vehicles.

Sat-navs have been sending motorists down the muddy track as a moorland shortcut to the A62 in Greater Manchester.

But the lane, which is steep in places and very rocky, has caused damage to various vehicles' undercarriages.

Distressing situation

Residents and local councillors also claim the weight of delivery vans and other traffic along the rural track has led to underwater pipes breaking which has made the path slippery for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

Minda Wigley, who lives on a farm next to the lane, said: "When we first came here 14 years ago vehicles came down here about once every two years.

"But in recent months, with the preponderance of sat-navs, we're getting one vehicle stuck virtually every week.

Top entrance to Hey Flake Lane (photo courtesy of MEN Syndication)
The problems with sat-navs are being worked on between local authorities, freight transport and haulage associations and Ordnance Survey to get freight map data on to these systems
Tony Noblet, Oldham Council's service director for highways

"When people get stuck they become quite distressed - it's a very difficult situation to find yourself in.

"We have had van drivers reduced to tears."

Oldham Council's service director for highways, Tony Noblet, said that 7. 5 tonne weight restriction signs are already in place in the village as well as unsuitable for HGVs signs on the A6052 to discourage drivers.

"While we have agreed to install the 'not suitable for vehicles' sign, we also have to take account of the local landscape and not spoil it with too many road signs," he added.

"The problems with sat-navs are being worked on between local authorities, freight transport and haulage associations and Ordnance Survey to get freight map data on to these systems.

"This work is currently under way and it is hoped that eventually all sat-nav systems used by larger vehicles will detail unsuitable and advisory routes."

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