Council urged to clear up off-road regulations

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Derbyshire County Council: please do better on off-roading

Countryside campaigners are calling on people to ask Derbyshire County Council be bolder, fairer and clearer in its updated off-roading policy.

Derbyshire County Council is currently consulting on its Policy for the Management of Motorised Vehicle Use in the Countryside. Friends of the Peak District is writing to the council welcoming the review but calling for firmer action on off-roading. The charity has been lobbying for action to stop 4x4 vehicles and trail bikes damaging sensitive routes in the Peak District as part of its Take Back the Tracks campaign.

“We really welcome the fact that DCC is updating its off-roading policy. The damage caused by off-roaders on some routes in the county is ruining the environment and has become a very bad problem for people living in and visiting the Peak District,” said John King, planning officer at Friends of the Peak District. “That said, we have some serious concerns about these revisions and think that they are not nearly bold enough.”

“The draft policy puts the rights of off-roaders way above the rights of other users including walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. This is wrong and needs changing. We also think the policy as it stands ignores DCC’s duty to protect the environment - including the Peak District National Park - and this needs addressing too.”

The charity also has concerns that the policy

· limits partnership working to the off-roading community, and largely ignores other legitimate users

· is unrealistic about how effective voluntary restraint can be in stopping damage from off-roading

· does not explain how and when DCC would close roads using Traffic Regulation Orders

· has the potential to delay DCC issuing Traffic Regulation Orders “Some of our most sensitive routes are under real threat from off-roading damage, and DCC already has the power to protect our landscapes by closing roads. We’d like to see some action now!” added John King. “We also think that it is important that DCC works more closely with the Peak District National Park Authority, and supports the work it is doing protecting this special environment.”

The deadline for comments on the revised policy is March 14. People can comment at and following the Have Your Say links to Management of Motorised Vehicle Use in the Countryside.