PDGLA was set up four years ago this month. This is a roundup of successes so far.The first thing we achieved was to persuade the Peak Park to change its stance on off-roading and to start using Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs). PDNPA has now put in place TROs permanently banning vehicles from Long Causeway, The Roych, Chapel Gate and Leys Lane. In the process PDNPA withstood aggressive and in some cases highly personal campaigning from off-roading organisations. We supported each TRO, provided evidence and encouraged large numbers of people to take part in the TRO consultations. We congratulate PDNPA for its efforts and for standing its ground. We look forward to further Peak Park TROs wherever they are necessary.
We have researched, and continue to research, the historic rights of way on lanes claimed as BOATs in the Peak District. Wherever there are no historic vehicle rights we work with local residents, walkers and horse riders to see if a BOAT claim based on modern use by motor vehicles can be opposed. We fight BOAT claims wherever there is a realistic chance of defeating them at a public inquiry. There are usually two or three inquiries each year.
So far we have taken part in six inquiries, between them covering eight lanes. We lost on Jacob’s Ladder (Stoney Middleton) and on Mill Lane ( Eyam) both of which are now BOATs. But we won on Bradley Lane (Pilsley and Hassop), twice*, and on Black Harry Lane (Stoney Middleton and Grt Longstone). The Inquiry Inspector decided that both are bridleways. We succeeded in making Pretty Wood (Eyam) a dead end for 4x4s and motor bikes and we took part in the inquiry which decided that Green Lane (Bonsall and Ibble) is a bridleway. We also helped secure Blackberry Lane (Grindlow and Foolow) as a restricted byway.
Working nationally with other organisations we have got off-roading back onto the political agenda. The government is now committed to full public consultation on the use of green lanes by motor vehicles and a change in the law is has become a real prospect.
The Derbyshire Police, when we first got going, were not taking any effective action against illegal off-roading (ie off-roading on footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways). The are now committed to enforcing the Peak Park TROs and say they will prosecute offenders.
We have raised the profile of off-roading as an issue nationally and have taken part in three BBC programmes. The latest was an item on Radio 4′s You and Yours earlier this month.
Derbyshire County Council remains a problem. It is at least researching and deciding what public rights of way exist on green lanes which are neither footpath or bridleway (only two highway authorities are bothering to do this). This gives us the chance of opposing and defeating some BOAT claims. But they still flatly refuse to use their own TRO powers to stop motor vehicles using any green lane in Derbyshire, even where it is clear that there is need for one. They say they are afraid of lega
l challenges from the off-roading organisations.
We are now engaging with Staffordshire CC as well as with Derbyshire. This highway authority wrongly believed that all unclassified highways which are unsealed (ie no tarmac) have motor vehicle rights.