Residents urged to view off-road plans

A MATLOCK councillor has described a report into off-road vehicle activities in the countryside as “very, very wrong” and has urged other people to lodge their concerns.

Cllr Dave Jones is worried about the off-road policy review currently being undertaken by Derbyshire County Council, claiming it leans favourably towards those involved in motorised sport rather than protecting the natural beauty of the Dales.

His gripe is backed by other countryside campaigners who say the proposals are simply not bold enough.

Cllr Jones, who sits on Matlock Town Council, said: “It [the report] is far too in favour of off-road vehicles. This proposed policy is very, very wrong.

“It starts by making a statement wanting to protect recreational activities, it’s from the wrong stand point which should be to protect the countryside.

“What about the people who enjoy the tranquillity? This needs to be protected more than people in their motorised vehicles.

“I’m not suggesting eliminating off-road, it has to be controlled and should not be put above the need to protect the countryside.”

The document is 15-pages long and is available on Derbyshire County Council’s website, inviting people to add comments.

Matlock Town Council has recommended it should put the protection of the countryside ahead of off-roading and that public involvement is vital in determining off-road routes.

The town council also agreed it was not appropriate for the county council to make a commitment to spend public money on off-road routes.

Friends of the Peak District has welcomed the review but also wants firmer action on off-roading. The charity has lobbied 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.

Planning officer for the group, John King, said: “The damage on some routes in the county is ruining the environment and has become a problem for people living in and visiting the Peak District.”