Friday 23 July 2021
The National Park Authority is aware that organisations including Manchester & East Midlands Rail Action Partnership (MEMRAP) have developed proposals, and are campaigning for the reinstatement of an active railway line on the route now known as the Monsal Trail.
There are two key tests that will need to be applied to any proposal to re-instate a railway line on the Monsal Trail, and the bar for each of these tests is set high due to the nature of the trail and its location. These tests are:
1. Need: Is there a strategic need and is that need in the national interest? This is important because of the principle of considering major development in the National Park and the specific impact on the Natural Zone, which has the highest level of protection in the National Park, characterised as the wilder parts of the landscape.
2. Impact: Can an equally convenient and acceptable provision of the Monsal Trail be provided elsewhere that is of a similar quality and without having an unacceptable impact on the high quality landscape and environment through which it passes?
The Authority has worked with MEMRAP to understand if their current proposal can pass these tests, however to date we have not received anything to indicate the tests can, or have, been overcome by their work.
The National Park Authority is totally committed to a low-carbon and sustainable future for travel and access for all to the National Park. However, we do not accept that the reinstatement of the railway on the route of the Monsal Trail is part of the solution, for the reasons we have set out above. We cannot therefore, support the reinstatement of what is being referred to as the ‘Peaks and Dales line’.