Peak District to curb off-roaders

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A NEW strategy is being prepared to tackle the problem of four-wheel-drive vehicles and trail bike riders using unsurfaced routes through the Peak District.

It follows concerns from residents and interest groups about the impact being caused by the vehicles on the tranquillity of the national park and on the condition of unsurfaced trails, which can make it difficult for walkers, cyclists and horse riders to use them.

Members of a Peak District National Park Authority committee agreed to work with officers on preparing a revised strategy and policy.

In the meantime, meetings are to be called with senior police officers and councillors from the highways authorities that cover the national park to see if more can be done to crack down on the problem.

A new consultation group involving these organisations, user groups and interest groups will meet in early September to look at practical measures.

The authority is to look into what funding is available.

The committee held a meeting where its members heard from eight public speakers who objected to the damage being done to the countryside by 4x4s and trail bikes.

Two people argued the problems would only be solved by working with motor vehicle user groups.

Although 4x4 use is often called ‘off-roading,’ many unsurfaced countryside tracks in the national park are legally classified as roads, called Byways Open to All Traffic, which can be used by 4x4s and trail bikes.

The authority is looking into which routes can legally be used by the vehicles and whether bans could be implemented - and also whether physical deterrents or enforcement should be taken on other routes where off-road vehicles are not allowed.