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DERBYSHIRE: D-day for vehicle ban plan on popular track

Off-road vehicles could be banned from the track
Off-road vehicles could be banned from the track

Vehicles could soon be banned from a popular track through the Derbyshire countryside.

Jacob’s Ladder, near Stoney Middleton, follows a route up which is well-used by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and off-roaders alike.

Currently, people are allowed to drive 4×4 or off-roading vehicles up the scrambling rocky path, but this could soon change after a move from Derbyshire County Council to ban all motorised vehicles.

A consultation into the plans is ongoing and set to end on June 14.

It is thought that vehicles using the multi-user track may cause a safety hazard for others using it, and cause severe damage to the path – made worse by water erosion.

A statement on the consultation page reads: “It is considered that the benefits derived from open air recreation, tranquillity and the landscape are being affected by use of motorised vehicles.

“Concerns about the safety of users who may come into contact with mechanically propelled vehicles on the route have been raised with the county council.

“Jacobs Ladder is narrow over much of its length to the point that larger vehicles cannot pass when travelling in opposite directions, and, in some sections, it is so narrow that other users may be forced off the route to avoid oncoming traffic.”

In a county council consultation carried out in 2016, 38 per cent of users of the Jacobs Ladder track said that they felt unsafe using the path due to the speed of some of the vehicles using the route, the narrowness of the track – which means there is no passing point or an area to stay out of the way – along with poor visibility.

Meanwhile, 62 per cent of users said they did not feel unsafe, that others on the route were considerate and that vehicles were rarely encountered.

Some respondents also felt that there may be an increase in the illegal use of other routes as a result of the proposed traffic regulation order.

Council officers recommending the order stated: “The consequence of doing nothing is likely to lead to further damage to walls and infrastructure.

“It will lead to further conflict and the likelihood of injury to members of the public.

“Continued mechanically-propelled vehicle use will lead to a reduction in use by other users who may feel unsafe and overall, the loss of amenity and recreational value to the majority of the public is threatened.”

The cost of the changes to the council would be £2,000, however if a public inquiry is called this could surge to between £10,000 and £15,000.

Eddie Bisknell , Local Democracy Reporting Service