This is an archived press release
Tuesday 10 March 2015
Working together holds the key for a brighter future for transport in the Peak District National Park.
Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin was among the speakers at a Sustainable Travel Summit in Bakewell, organised by the Peak District National Park Authority, and heard delegates debate the need for a more integrated approach, possibly through a travel partnership.
The Peak District is one of the most-visited national parks in the world, with an estimated 11 million tourist visits every year, over 38,000 residents and some of the biggest cities in the north within easy reach. Recent studies show that more than 80% of visits are by car.
The summit saw key figures from local authorities, bus and train operators, visitor attractions, universities, communities and the hospitality industry looking at ways to deliver a sustainable transport network to serve both residents and visitors.
They called for Government funding for rural transport solutions to be available on a five-year cycle, rather than the current one year, and said it was important to come up with solutions that people would want to use, making the journey itself part of the experience. It was also felt that travel should be viewed as a business in its own right, with the right support available.
Mr McLoughlin, the MP for Derbyshire Dales, said: “I think the concept of sustainability has particular resonance in places like the Peak District. A national park of outstanding beauty, yet also an area that requires excellent transport links to keep local communities connected, and to meet the needs of millions of visitors each year.
“To me, sustainable travel means finding a balance between our mobility needs, our economic needs and the needs of our communities and society. What’s unsustainable is increasing gridlock on our roads, rising carbon and local emissions, spending beyond our means, or failing to take action to balance growth and prosperity across the country.’’
Mr McLoughlin also highlighted the efforts to make the area one of the UK’s leading centres of cycling and added: “The vast majority of sustainable solutions are local, which means they have to be devised, developed, owned, promoted and implemented locally. And that’s something you are doing in the Peak District very well indeed.’’
Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “The Peak District offers great outdoor adventure and deep cultural experiences and the summit inspired some simple ideas to get people moving in and around the national park in ways that were fun, affordable, easy and that could pay their way; and in ways other than by car.
“It also highlighted how we’ve started this journey, through the many cycle routes and trails opened in recent years.”
The event was introduced by Dianne Jeffrey, chair of the national park management plan advisory group.