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'Off-roading' policy proposed for National Park

This is an archived press release

Thursday 1 February 2007

1 February 2007

"Off-roading" policy proposed for Peak District National Park

The Peak District National Park Authority will consider a draft policy for the management of motor vehicles on country tracks at its meeting on February 9.

If approved, the draft policy will go out for a year-long public consultation with recreational users of unsurfaced highways, including 4x4 drivers, trail-bike riders, walkers and horse-riders, as well as landowners, community groups, parish councils, Highway Authorities and the police.

There are about 400 unsurfaced highways in the National Park, and motor vehicles may be legally used on many of these. Their maintenance is the responsibility of the Highway Authorities (county or city councils), and enforcement of any regulations is carried out by the police. The National Park Authority works closely with both.

The draft policy, if approved, would give a detailed, objective strategy for dealing with the effects of motor-vehicles on unsurfaced highways throughout the National Park.

Its guiding principle is that the best means to alleviate the problems is through a co-operative approach, involving all recreational users, landowners, community groups, highways authorities and the police, treating each route individually on a case-by-case basis.

However, if this fails, it proposes using forthcoming powers to introduce Traffic Regulation Orders on individual routes under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006. These are not yet in force – a consultation period ends in April 2007, with the go-ahead expected later in the year.

The Authority has already been instrumental in drawing up a voluntary Code of Respect for one of the busiest tracks, the Long Causeway, a three-mile historic packhorse-route across Stanage Edge. The Code was agreed through the Stanage Forum, which includes all interest-groups, and it will be piloted this summer.

It includes:

  • Group-sizes limited to four 4x4s or six trail-bikes
  • Speed-limits of 5mph for 4x4s and 20mph for trail-bikes
  • Sensitivity to wildlife breeding and archaeological sites
  • Giving way to other users
  • Users to be fully road-legal
  • A voluntary one-way system
  • Keeping to the track
  • Limited use in wet weather
  • Voluntary repair-work on erosion
  • Spreading the message about responsible use.

This is an archived press release

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