This is an archived press release
Friday 2 December 2011
The Peak District National Park Authority is to increase spending to protect the national park from damage by 4x4s and trail bikes.
At the Authority meeting today, members agreed to allocate an extra £100,000 over the next two years to:
• Resolve problems faster.
• Speed up production of route action plans to manage the tracks.
• Create the capacity to potentially deal with more Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) to conserve the landscape’s natural beauty and wildlife.
• Improve engagement with user groups and local communities.
• Involve volunteers more.
• Contribute to the work of partners in monitoring and reporting illegal use.
This will be achieved by creating a full time job for two years, and meeting the cost of the extra hours of legal work that will be needed.
Members of the authority also agreed improvements to the strategy on managing the use of motor vehicles on unsurfaced tracks which involves changes to the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) procedure.
TROs can be used to restrict vehicles on routes where severe damage has been or is likely to be done to the environment or the national park’s special qualities, including its quiet enjoyment.
Although 4x4 use is often called ‘off-roading’ many untarmaced countryside tracks in the national park can legally be used by 4x4s and trail bikes.
Christopher Pennell, who chairs the authority’s audit, resources and performance committee, said: “We are in a better position than ever before to tackle the impact of motorists on unsurfaced routes in the national park.
“We recognise there are strong feelings amongst local communities and other countryside users about the damage and disturbance caused on certain routes.”
Although the authority is dealing with budget cuts, the updated strategy and extra resources ensures the issue is a top priority for its work.
Mr Pennell added: “We are here to protect the national park and its special qualities. It’s our job to consider the impact of 4x4 and trail bikes using unsurfaced tracks on the environment, local communities and on the quiet enjoyment of the national park.
“We want people to enjoy this much-loved landscape for the benefits of recreation but in ways that don’t harm the environment. Unfortunately the impact of some 4x4s and trail bikes on the condition of unsurfaced routes can make it difficult and sometimes dangerous for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to use them.”
Eleven public speakers spoke at the meeting. Six groups represented local and national motoring interests and five groups spoke for local communities and other countryside users including horse riders and walkers.
A further period of public consultation on the revised strategy will take place before work on delivering the strategy starts. This is to allow any new issues not previously raised to be considered.
The national park authority will continue to work in partnership with responsible 4x4 and trail bike user groups, the police, highways authorities, the Local Access Forum, and others including horse riders, walkers and cyclists.
To find out what the authority is doing to manage the use of vehicles on unsurfaced roads visit www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/vehicles