Campaigners say tracks such as Long Causeway at Stanage are being damaged by off-roaders. Photo: Michael Ely CC-BY-SA-2.0

Campaigners say tracks such as Long Causeway at Stanage are being damaged by off-roaders. Photo: Michael Ely CC-BY-SA-2.0

National park bosses have vowed to act on the problems caused by off-roaders damaging routes.

The Peak District National Park Authority’s audit, resources and performance committee said it will come up with a new strategy for the area’s unsurfaced tracks.

The decision came after a rally of more than 100 people at Stanage Edge last weekend pressing for protection for the national park’s tracks and green lanes.

A spokesperson for the authority said it backed the concerns of local residents and interest groups about the impact of trail bikes and 4×4 vehicles on the national park’s tranquillity and the difficulty walkers, cyclists and horse riders faced when vehicles damaged tracks.

“In the meantime meetings are to be called with senior police officers and councillors from the highways authorities that cover the national park to build on existing successful partnership work to tackle the issue and see if more can be done.

“A new consultative group involving these organisations, user groups and interest groups will meet in early September to look at practical measures that can be done to resolve problems,” the spokesperson said.

A revised strategy will go before the full authority in December, and members will also look at budgets with a view to increasing the speed of implementation of any new plans.

Christopher Pennell, chair of the audit, performance and resources committee, said: “It is good that people are so passionate about the national park’s beautiful landscape and are concerned about issues like this.

“This meeting was an opportunity to reflect on the real progress that has been made to manage 4×4 and trail bike use on unsurfaced routes in the national park.

“But it was also a time to hear and respond to the concerns expressed by people on both sides of the argument who want the momentum increasing, which is why we are recommending the strategy is updated and we look at finding ways of committing more money to this area of work at a time when the authority is facing budget cuts.

“No single group or authority can resolve this issue on their own. That is why we will continue to work in partnership with the police, local authorities, the Local Access Forum, 4×4 and trail-bike user groups and a variety of recreation user groups, including horse riders, walkers and cyclists on these complicated issues.”

The authority has assessed 180 routes and found 24 it views as a priority. It has installed monitoring equipment to log use of routes to provide legal evidence if necessary and has introduced a Traffic Regulation Order banning motor vehicles on one track.

Derbyshire County Council is also looking into the routes where there is a question of the legality of motor vehicle use and carried out an enforcement and education campaign with police under the Operation Blackbrook project.

Repairs, improved signs and maintenance have also been carried out at various sites, the national park authority said.

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