National Park Authority positive about first six months of programme to manage use of 4x4s and trail bikes in the area.
The Peak District National Park Authority has issued a statement welcoming the progress over the initial six months of a two-year programme to manage off-road 4x4s and trail bikes in the park and emphasised that it's aim is 'to improve responsible recreation opportunities for all' though it stops short of opposing the use of off-road recreational vehicles full stop.
Extra Funding For 4x4 Management
It's a measure of the importance that the Authority attaches to the issue that it's invested an extra £100,000 of funding in a two-year programme run by the Authority's rights of way team at a time when budgets in other areas are being cut back.
In the first six months, the team has met with green lane user groups, intoduced consultations on four routes, carried out repairs on four more, updated management plans, logged illegal use of three routes by recreational motor vehicles in conjunction with the police and more.
At the heart of the issue is a basic question over whether motorised recreational vehicles are compatible with other users' enjoyment of the area and it's not entirely clear where the Peak District National Park Authority stands on this question.
'Recreational opportunities for all'
“Our aim," says Christopher Pennell, who chairs the Audit, Resources and Performance committe, "is to improve responsible recreation opportunities for all, which encourage a sense of adventure, promote health and wellbeing and are sustainable and appropriate to the national park landscape."
The key words are 'sustainable and appropriate' and an awful lot of people believe that 4x4s and motorbikes off road are anything but. And while the Peak Park is careful not to say so outright, you have to think that the two current consultations on proposed Traffic Regulation Orders to exclude trail-bikes, quad-bikes and 4x4s from Long Causeway (3.6 km route between Hathersage and Sheffield) and the Roych (3.5km section of the Pennine Bridleway near Chapel-en-le-Frith), suggest that at heart, it agrees with that argument.
The two routes listed have both suffered massive damage through vehicular use over the years and been restored a number of times only for the repairs to be wrecked by continued use by motorised vehicles. The Roych route, in particular, was fully restored just a few years ago, but has already deteriorated alarmingly with trail bikes in particular often ignoring vountary restrictions and speed limits.
The irony of course, is that were these legally-classified roads to be made genuinely sustainable for vehicular use - ie: tarmaced - off-roaders would no longer want to use them...
The consulations close on 2 November 2012 and you can find full details at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/consultations. For any queries, call the rights of way team on 01629 816290. In addition you can find full details of the Park's vehicle policy at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/looking-after/vehicles.