Trail riders’ fury as PDNPA vows to continue lane closure policy
The Trail Riders Fellowship is outraged that the cash-strapped Peak District National Park Authority appears determined to continue with its policy of forcing trail bikes out of the park, even though it has had its budget cut by half-a-million pounds.
In 2012-13 the PDNPA budgeted £100,000 on a policy of lane management by closure, and was defeated in the High Court by the Trail Riders Fellowship. It has yet to close a single lane.
Announcing the £577,000 budget cuts, PDNPA chair Tony Favell said: "Our approach to dealing with the cuts is to make efficiency savings in some areas whilst increasing income where we can. We are not standing still, we are being proactive.
"We are investigating the best ways of reducing costs and generating more income from our assets including the North Lees Estate, near Hathersage and from the Monsal, High Peak and Tissington Trails."
TRF communications director Mike Irving said: “It would appear that hard-pressed private businesses operating in the National Park are expected to pick up the tab, so the PDNPA can continue with its ‘irrational’ (the word used by a High Court Judge) policy of driving motorcyclists and motorists (and the tourist spend that they bring with them) out of the National Park under the misleading tag of 'management'.
“Most of the £100,000 allocated to ‘managing’ green lanes in last year’s budget appears to have been frittered away in internal costs and lawyers expenses. It could have been far better spent on physical improvements to the rights of way network.
“While the TRF is determined to protect the historic rights of motorcyclists by making recourse to the courts whenever necessary, we would much prefer a constructive dialog with the PDNPA and a proactive policy of ensuring that rights of way are maintained to be accessible to all.”
The Authority's final budget for 2014-15 will be set at a meeting in February.