More than 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for a ban on green lane closures within the national park.
Two national rights of way organisations have joined forces to call on the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) to halt its programme of road closures in the park.
The Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and the Green Lane Association (GLASS) have the launched the petition, claiming the authority’s policy of closing vehicular rights of way by traffic regulation order (TRO) as manifestly unfair.
“There are only about 30 miles of unsurfaced ‘green lane’ roads still open to motor vehicles in the park, and there is a large network of footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways that are open to all who do not wish to encounter motor vehicles, yet the PDNPA’s policy is to drive us out of the park altogether,” said Mike Irvine, communications director at the TRF.
“The rough roads of the Peak District were used by motorcyclists before the First World War, and certainly long before the formation of the Ramblers Association, the Kinder Trespass or, indeed, the formation of the National Park itself.
“We ask the PDNPA to reverse its policy and accord recreational motoring and motorcycling the same respect that it does to other traditional activities in the park.”
Jim Dixon, chief executive of PDNPA, said: “Our statutory responsibility and first purpose is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Peak District. We act in the best interests of the national park and everyone who uses it. Where the impact of motorised users is damaging the national park’s special qualities, such as at Long Causeway and the Roych, it has been necessary to make TROs excluding motor vehicles. We take this responsibility very seriously and collect lots of evidence and carry out extensive consultations with local people and the different recreational user groups, before making a TRO.
“It is understandable that the motor vehicle users are unhappy with the Authority’s decisions to restrict their access to certain routes, however, the process is democratic and transparent, and taking no action to protect these routes is not an option.”
To view the petition visit www.change.org and search for ‘Green Lane Association’.