Important Post from Nigel Bennett, Chairman PDVUG

Enjoy Greenlaning? Read this:

If you are interested in greenlaning you need to read this. You may be aware that the Lake District and the all Yorkshire National Parks have successfully closed many perfectly sustainable and enjoyable rights of way through widespread use of Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO), thereby decimating what were once areas offering many and varied lanes. The Peak District is trying to do the same; however, The Peak and Derbyshire Vehicle User Group (PDVUG) is fighting hard to combat the discrimination and overt prejudice being shown by the Park Authority to recreational vehicle users. Other National Parks and County Authorities are watching how the Peak District is approaching the subject.

The PDVUG represents the Green Lane Association (GLASS), the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and many other local 4x4 and trail riding groups, to present a common face to the Peak Park . The Park has identified 26 key vehicular rights of way across the Peak District, for which it has produced a ‘Management Plan’. The Plan is not about any form of management but a clear intent to close the lanes by use of TROs. The Park is responding to vociferous pressure from groups such as The Friends of the Peak District, the Green Lanes Environmental Action Movement (GLEAM), as well as many local residents’ groups who are opposed, on principal, to driving and trail riding in the countryside.

The ‘anti-groups’ and the Peak Park Authority point to damage on the lanes by heavy use in wet weather and the tendency of many drivers to go ‘off-piste’. This means people who drive away from the legal rights of way onto adjoining land. Too many owners of 4x4s think the countryside is one big play area. It is not. Driving on rights of way is not off-roading, although many will use the term incorrectly. Driving on adjoining land without the landowner’s permission is off-road, is trespassing and is illegal. The result for those caught can be a confiscated and crushed vehicle.

We are fighting a losing battle with the Park Authority because there are too many instances, every weekend, of parties of 4x4 drivers leaving the lanes and trashing land on either side. Sometimes it is farmland that suffers and on other occasions it is wild moorland. This gives those opposed to recreational driving all the ammunition they need to campaign against us.

Can we please appeal through this magazine to you, if you visit the Peak District or anywhere else for that matter, to drive the lanes, to familiarise yourself with the law and the Land Access and Recreation Association (LARA) Drivers' Countryside Code of Conduct. http://www.laragb.org/pdf_files/alrc-code-of-conduct.pdf Better still to join GLASS, understand the issues and help to spread the word for sensible, legal driving.

You may not like the complication of this, but green laning has become an activity dominated by the law and legal rulings. Only by keeping within the law and driving sensibly will we stand any chance of retaining the use of green lanes in this country. Illegal, reckless and anti-social behaviour on the lanes will result in their total loss. It is in the hands of everyone who takes a vehicle into the countryside.

Yours sincerely
Nigel Bennett
Chairman PDVUG

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