Green campaigners have slammed last week’s vehicle-user protest at the Peak Park offices, insisting that motorcycles and 4x4’s are a “dangerous, destructive and costly” blight on the area.
Members of the Peak District Green Lanes Alliance (PDGLA) have come forward to rebut what they see as a “flawed” argument by organisations like the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and the Green Lane Association (GLASS).
Patricia Stubbs, chair of the PDGLA, claims that vehicle-users have access to “upwards of 200” trails in the Peak Park – rather than the one per cent the TRF claim – as vehicles can legally use any unclassified byway, not just green lanes, until a Traffic Regulation Order is imposed.
She also claims the amount of money vehicle-users bring to the area is “peanuts” compared to the “hundreds of thousands of pounds” authorities spend on repairing green lanes that have been damaged by vehicles.
She also claims that vehicles “intimidate” walkers, cyclists and horse-riders and believes that many tourists are “put-off visiting the area” after encountering groups of motorists in the countryside.
Patricia said: “These vehicles are dangerous for other trail users, they carve up green lanes – making it impossible for horse riders and many walkers to use them – and taxpayers are funding all the damage they cause.”
But Richard Simpson, spokesman for the TRF, refutes Patricia’s claims.
He insists that, while the PDGLA claim there are over 200 byways open to all traffic, the Peak District National Park Authority “cannot provide a list of them” and believes many could be residential roads and cul-de-sacs.
He said: “All roads and rights of way require repair, as does right to roam land, and any tourists who are put off by encounters with vehicles have 100 per cent of the rights of way to choose from, so can avoid motorists if they choose.”
More vehicle-user protests are planned for March 2013.