Campaign call to save trails

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COUNTRYSIDE campaigners fear plans for a forum to stop trail bikers and 4x4 drivers damaging national park routes could be in jeopardy without county council support.

Friends of the Peak District lobbied the Peak District National Park Authority which set up a forum but the FPD claims Derbyshire County Council has failed to join the discussions and failed to fulfil promises to close off two country lanes to traffic.

FPD Planning officer John King said: “Given that the county council is responsible for maintaining roads and rights of way it is vital they are on the forum too. Without them it’s impossible to discuss problems, solutions and get positive results.”

The FPD charity, which set up the Take Back the Tracks campaign, said the park authority closed Chapel Gate near Edale to traffic on a temporary basis and aims to review off-roading policy.

But the charity claims the county council promised in November 2009 to close Bradley Lane, Pilsley, to traffic and promised to do the same to School Lane, Great Hucklow, in November 2010, but no orders have been issued. It has written to county council leader Andrew Lewer for an explanation.

Cllr Simon Spencer, Derbyshire County Council’s deputy leader and highways chief, said the council takes this matter seriously but it cannot attend every forum because it does not have the resources.

He added that the council is confident measures in place are adequate and it will work with concerned parties and is considering a policy on managing countryside vehicle use. The council also stated there were legal issues around Bradley Lane and School Lane but it is considering options.