Derbyshire police issue statement on travelling to Peak District during lockdown
A second national lockdown in England is underway, with people again being asked to stay at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But there are a number of exemptions enabling people to leave their homes, including to spend time or exercise outdoors.
The Government’s advice is that people should do so locally wherever possible but they can travel to do so if ‘necessary’, for example to access an open space.
The lockdown legislation passed my MPs does not appear to prevent people travelling as far as they want for this purpose, provided they do not stay overnight and they follow other rules, including meeting no more than one person from another household at any given time.
During the first lockdown, many people travelled from surrounding areas to enjoy the natural beauty of the Peak District but police in Derbyshire criticised their actions and shared drone footage in an attempt to deter other visitors from outside the county.
Derbyshire Constabulary has now issued fresh guidance about visiting the Peak District during the new four-week lockdown.
DCI Emlyn Richards, who is leading the force’s response to coronavirus, said: “The Government guidance clearly states that, where possible, exercise should be taken locally. However, it is possible to travel to access an open space.
“We would urge people to make use of their local parks and recreation areas as much as possible. The Peak District is a fantastic area to visit. However, with the current restrictions in place many of the local amenities visitors would need are closed.
“It is also important to remember that, while the areas to visit are large, those most popular sites do get busy and social distancing can be difficult to maintain at points on narrow paths and in car parks.
“It is also important to remember that our rural communities include vulnerable and elderly people who are understandably concerned about the dangers posed by the virus and large numbers of people moving into isolated communities poses a greater risk to those living there.
“Given the huge size of the Peak District it is impossible for officers to ensure that everyone is abiding by the laws – but that should not be the marker by which people make their decision.
"The restrictions in place are there to keep everyone safe and it is up to each and everyone one of us to do our bit to help protect everyone against this virus.”
The National Trust, meanwhile, has said that it will keep its gardens, parks and countryside sites open during the latest lockdown, though it has been forced to close houses, shops and holiday accommodation in England.
Anybody who does travel for exercise or other permitted reasons is encouraged by the Government to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace. Anyone breaching self-isolation rules faces a fine of up to £1,000.