County updates off-road policy after campaign to protect eroded tracks

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PEOPLE are being urged to have their say on how the use of vehicles such as 4x4s and off-road bikes should be managed within the Peak District National Park and its surrounding countryside.

Derbyshire County Council has updated its policy on managing roads which have vehicular rights, and set out how the authority intends to maintain rights of way over the next five years.

This comes after a high-profile campaign by groups including walkers, horse riders and the Friends of the Peak District, calling for more to be done to protect vulnerable tracks in the area which have been becoming damaged through overuse.

Already, one traffic regulation order (TRO) has been introduced, on Chapel Gate near Edale, to prevent 4x4s and off-road vehicles using the route after it became badly eroded.

Councillor Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Everyone has a right to get out and enjoy Derbyshire’s countryside and there are routes which we have a legal duty to maintain for vehicles to use.

“This policy aims to balance the interests and rights of all user groups and local communities.

“It sets out how we will maintain rights of way and manage vehicle use in the countryside over the next five years, taking into account changes in legislation and progress we’ve made since the first policy was drafted in 2003.”

The policy covers areas such as the use of TROs, the signage of off-road routes and investment in such routes. The closing date for comments is March 14.