Barry and Jenny Dring, the owners of Butts Quarry bike track in Ashover, were served with an abatement notice by North East Derbyshire District Council in December 2020.
Currently, the track opens every two weeks for an event, but the NEDDC’s abatement notice would only permit Butts Quarry to open once a month. This would leave the track struggling to survive, and almost 13,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the council to allow motorsports to continue fortnightly at the track.
The Drings are now being supported by a former Derbyshire police officer and current member of the South Yorkshire Police Off-Road Bike Team. The unit, set up to tackle anti-social biking across the border, published a letter in which they said that venues such as Butts Quarry are crucial in providing a safe, legal space for riders.
The officer, who wised to remain anonymous, said: “Off-road motorcycling is a sport like any other, and provision of venues is essential for the sport to continue and for people to be able to participate in it safely and legally. However, venues used for off-road motorsport are in decline nationally, as are green lanes.
“We are also aware that Butts Quarry, a multi-discipline venue in North Derbyshire, is under threat, and we know that this venue is used by a significant number of riders from South Yorkshire due to its close proximity to our county.
“The biggest argument that is presented to us from the off-road community is that there is a lack of provision for this popular pastime. This argument is, in the main, supported by other groups such as walkers, mountain bikers and horse riders as they also understand the need for quality provision.”
They added increasing provision at existing venues for amateur and elite riders alike would help tackle the problem of anti-social biking. They also stressed the importance of opening new tracks, and said that closing venues such as Butts Quarry would have a negative impact on road safety locally.
“The police cannot enforce our way out of the challenges posed by anti-social behaviour and the illegal use of vehicles. Whilst we will never condone illegal riding, we can see that there is cogency to the argument presented for more local and national provision.
“We are not advocating that increased provision is the panacea to solve all the challenges presented, but we see a need to provide places to take part in this hobby, as well as utilising existing places and working with them to put on events that cater for all levels.
“Many venues cater for all age ranges and are diverse and inclusive, bringing different communities together and fostering new talent into the sport. They are also vital to the economy and bring revenue to the places where they are situated.
“Closing venues has a real impact on road safety and anti-social behaviour on bikes. We would like to work with venues that are currently open to cater for a wider audience and help assist in the provision of new venues moving forward.”