Long Causeway, Stanage. Photo: Michael Ely CC-BY-SA-2.0

Long Causeway, Stanage. Photo: Michael Ely CC-BY-SA-2.0

Campaigners will gather at a rally to press for the banning of off-roaders from trails in Britain’s oldest national park.

The Campaign for National Parks is backing the call to protect some of the Peak District’s most threatened routes from damage by trail motorbikes and 4×4 vehicles.

Activists will walk to a rally near one of the national park’s most celebrated climbing areas this Saturday to hear calls for the authority to act.

Anne Robinson, chair of the CNP, will tell the crowd at Stanedge Pole that the Peak District bosses must get tough on off-roaders.

The venue is within sight of Long Causeway, which runs along the top of Stanage Edge, one of the best known walking and climbing destinations in the area.

The route can be legally used by motor vehicles, but outdoor enthusiasts say the Peak District National Park Authority should take up powers to ban such use.

Ms Robinson said: “The time has come for the authority to get tough.

“Management of damage is not good enough in a national park, which is designated so that its scenic beauty can be protected. We don’t want the damage in the first place.

“Instead, we are pressing for a proactive approach not a reactive one, in which the authority uses its powers to prevent damage to sensitive green lanes. This could be done by closing the routes to motorised vehicles or issuing permits for limited access.

“We urge the park authority to take some strong decisions when it meets on 15 July to discuss off-roading in the national park.

“We think that it should make immediate use of its powers and that a good start would be to make it illegal to drive on all routes that can’t sustain use by 4×4s and motorbikes whether or not they are damaged. Long Causeway would be a good place to start this tough new approach.”

Details of the rally, north of Hathersage in Derbyshire, are on the Friends of the Peak District’s website.  The event is part of the Friends’ Take Back the Tracks campaign.

  • Police in Derbyshire have been targeting off-roaders with their Operation Blackbrook project.

Officers stopped 26 off-road motorcyclists during two weekends last month. The operation was started in April 2007 to encourage off road riders and drivers to act responsibly and to use lawful routes.

PC Kevin Lowe, Operation Blackbrook coordinator, said: “The campaign continues to work with the different agencies and various user groups that have interests in the Peak District national park.

“The area is for everyone to enjoy, whether as walkers, horse riders, cyclists, motorcycle riders or drivers and it is vital that everyone has respect for each other’s rights and privileges.

“We target areas where unlawful off-roading is reported or detected and I have recently been working with the villagers and off-road user group representatives at High Rake, Longstone Edge and Wigley Lane, Rowland. These locations are restricted byways, which mean unauthorised motorised traffic is illegal.

“There is also a bridleway at Taylor Lane, Longstone Edge which is only for use by walkers, horse riders and pedal cyclists. Taylor Lane and Black Harry Lane have undergone significant maintenance as has Long Causeway at Stanage.

“It is also important to target the concerns of residents living in the rural areas surrounding Bakewell, and serious consideration has to be given to the quality of life of local farmers and villagers, and to help preserve the national park for future generations.

“The project continues to promote the ethos of information and communication as the primary way forward. However the time may have arrived when enforcement will be applicable to this rogue minority. Penalty notices, vehicle seizures and reports for summons will be considered on the evidence available.

“During the recent checks none of the 26 riders we spoke to could be described as part of that minority, but four of their machines fell below the required standard and the riders were dealt with appropriately.

He added: “I wish to emphasise that the vast majority of off road riders and drivers have a wish to do things right, however, everyone is being let down by this rogue minority element which we need to influence.”

As part of the project, anyone who witnesses a vehicle being ridden or driven along a track unlawfully is asked to report the issue to Derbyshire police on 0345 123 33 33, and if possible to take details of descriptions of vehicles or take photographs, if it is safe to do so.

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