Hundreds protest at Peak Park offices

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Hundreds of motorcyclists and 4x4 drivers descended on the Peak District National Park offices to protest against plans to ban vehicles from green lanes in the area.

Protesters from all over the UK arrived at the authority’s Bakewell office on Friday, January 25, in time to greet staff arriving for work.

The reason for the protest was so campaigning groups – including the Trail Riders Fellowship, Peaks and Derbyshire Vehicle Users Group and the Green Lane Association – could hand over an open letter to Peak Chiefs asking for an “equitable solution” to the long-running green lane debate.

In August 2011, the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) made an experimental traffic regulation order along Chapel Gate – a track between Edale and Chapel-en-le-Frith – banning all motor vehicles.

The decision sparked outrage amongst vehicle users, who have campaigned for their right to use unsurfaced roads in the national park ever since.

Richard Simpson, of the Trail Riders Fellowship, said: “In November 2012 we won a significant victory in the High Court, in which the ban was declared illegal, but the PDNPA appear determined to continue [pursuing to ban vehicles from green lanes] regardless of the cost.”

Jim Dixon, chief executive of the PDNPA, said he was “pleased” that the protest was “good tempered and well organised” but added that there were still “no plans” to change the authority’s “general approach to the green lane issue”.

He said: “We will always seek practical non-restrictive measures such as surface repair, better signage, voluntary codes and selective controls such as one-way systems before choosing to ban vehicles from any route.”

But protesters still believe they are being mistreated by the authority and have planned another, even larger, protest in March.