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We’re surprised and disappointed that Derbyshire County Council is refusing to get involved in a key forum looking at the problems of off-roading in the National Park.

We’ve written to council leader Andrew Lewer demanding an explanation for the lack of interest. We’ve been lobbying the Peak District National Park Authority and Derbyshire County Council to stop 4×4 drivers and trail bikers damaging the most sensitive routes in the national park – as part of Take Back the Tracks. As a result, the Park Authority has closed Chapel Gate near Edale to all traffic on a temporary basis, and agreed to review its policy on managing off-roading. It also set up a new recreational vehicle forum to bring together key people to tackle the issue.

The new forum was to include all the relevant people involved in trying to sort out the problems of off-roading in the Peak District including Friends of the Peak District, the National Park Authority, off-roading groups, local residents and parish councils. Given that Derbyshire County Council is responsible for maintaining roads and rights of way – it was vital that they were there too. Without them, it’s impossible for the forum to discuss problems, solutions and ultimately get positive results.

We’ve been really pleased to see a change in the attitude of the Peak District National Park Authority, but for anything to happen, Derbyshire County Council needs to pull its finger out too!

We’re also calling on Derbyshire County Council to take stronger and swifter action to protect green lanes from damage caused by off-roading. Back in November 2009 they promised to serve a Traffic Regulation Order to close Bradley Lane in Pilsley to all traffic. In November 2010 they promised to do the same at School Lane in Great Hucklow. Nearly two years later, no TROs have been issued.

Apart from protecting our important routes, issuing TROs makes economic sense too. At a time when local authorities are having to save money, they’re a lot cheaper than the cost of constantly repairing these routes.