Peak District 4x4 Ban Announced

Peak Park Authority announces ban on 4x4s and trail bikes on The Roych track above Hayfield.


Posted: 23 July 2013
by Jon

4x4s on Stanage Causeway - Hamish Fenton, OM Gallery
One of the problem areas on the Roych track - 4x4s have detoured round the main track to the left wrecking a section of smooth singletrack built on the righthand side.
Notice of a previous restriction posted on the Roych track.

The Peak District National Park Authority has announced a permanent exclusion of 4x4s and motorbikes from the Roych, a popular Derbyshire green lane which forms part of the Pennine Bridleway ' to protect,' it says, 'the special qualities of the national park.

The move to ban motorised recreational vehicles under a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO)  - the exclusion does not include wheelchairs or electric disability scooters and Trampers - is the latest move in an ongoing legal chess match between the PDNPA and groups representing 4x4 and trail bike users and should come into force in around four to six weeks time.

Pulblic Consultation

It follows a public consultation during which the Authority received around 2,500 responses, with over 1,000 objecting to the proposed TRO and more than 1,235 individuals and organisations in support of a ban. The 3.5km track has been repeatedly repaired, but heavy use and, in particular, detouring by 4x4s to avoid difficult sections of the track has damaged the repaired sections despite various voluntary restrictions.

Protecting Natural Beauty

The Authority is keen to stress that the decision, part of an ongoing plan to manage use in the Peak wasn't taken lightly:

“We considered partial regulation,' says Christopher Pennell of the PDNPA. 'But past attempts, on a voluntary basis, to partially restrict use by 4x4s and trail bikes have failed. The status quo was unacceptable and doing nothing was not an option. 

“In the light of evidence and feedback during public consultation, our members felt they had to use the powers Parliament gave them to restrict motorised recreational traffic in this particular case to protect the natural beauty and amenity of the Roych and its surrounding, stunning landscape.”

The End Of Vehicles On The Roych?

Is this the end of motorised vehicles on the Roych? At face value, yes, but previous exclusion orders have been subject to legal challenges by groups representing drivers and motorcyclists with at least one, albeit temporary, order on the Chapel Gate track overturned on a technicality last year.

Interestingly the PDNPA is committed to managing vehicular use in the Peak more effectively and, in its own words, 'has committed extra resources to addressing the issue of managing green lanes, despite budget cuts in other areas'.

Not Financial

The issue isn't financial, says the Authority - the County Cuncil is responsible for the upkeep of roads including green lanes - but about protecting the natural beauty of the landscape, which tracks like the Roych have an influence on.

To put it in perspective however, Natual England invested some £600,000 in the Roych as part of the Pennine Bridleway project, but over the past few years a combination of factors, including vehicle use, has caused serious damage to large sections of the track.

Other Tracks

Does this mean more Traffic Regulation Orders and bans on other problem green lanes? Not necessarily, the Peak Park rights of way team is keen to stress that tracks will be dealt with individually on a case-by-case basis to find the most appropriate possible solution.

Two other tracks in the area - Chapel Gate and the Long Causeway on Stanage are currently temporarily closed for repair works by Derbyshire Country Council - and subject to consultations with decisions expected in the autumn.

If that seems like a slow process, bear in mind that the PDNPA has a duty to consult all user bodies and the public before taking action and if that seems like a negative thing to you, ask yourself whether you'd prefer a world where decisions affecting major user groups and a popular Natiional Park could be rushed through without consultation?

More background at www.peakdistrict.gov.uk/looking-after/vehicles.


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Discuss this story

this will lead to an increase in illegal and irresponsible riding and driving on the Roych and the surrounding area. In the past, law-abiding members of the Trail Riders Fellowship have done their best to educate and inform illegal and irresponsible riders and drivers that they have encountered in the area, and similar action has also been taken by the various 4x4 clubs which use the lane. The TRO will ban the legal users from the lane.
On the Roych, illegal users will turn up in increasing numbers, with unregistered, uninsured and possibly stolen vehicles, which they will thrash up and down the road, and across the surrounding countryside. Some vehicles are likely to be abandoned and burnt, with the consequential risk of horrendous damage to the local environment.
The police in Derbyshire have already stated that enforcing the TRO on the Roych will be an almost impossible task because of the remoteness of the area, and that a lack of resources mean that it will not be a priority for them.
Mr Pennell has admitted that any barriers or signs that the PDNPA erects to prevent the entry of motor vehicles are likely to be smashed, removed or just driven around. The route is still legal for disabled persons to use in wheelchairs and mobility vehicles so barriers capable of stopping 4x4s and motorcycles will constitute an illegal obstruction to disabled users.
Mr Pennell is a leading member of the Friends of the Peak District, which was prominent during the consultation as a campaigner for the ban: how was it that he was allowed to chair the Committee which decided the issue?

Posted: 23/07/2013 at 15:14

Excellent decision by the look of it.


Posted: 23/07/2013 at 15:17

OM must be on a recruitment drive for new members...expect some very soon.

this will lead to an increase in illegal and irresponsible riding and driving on the Roych

Why?

Trail Riders Fellowship have done their best to educate and inform illegal and irresponsible riders and drivers

Did it work?

The route is still legal for disabled persons to use in wheelchairs and mobility vehicles

Sounds gnarly, dude.


Posted: 23/07/2013 at 15:28

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