As many of you will doubtless already be aware Chapel Gate Byway in the heart of the Peak District is currently closed to all motor vehicle traffic by virtue of a Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO).
Quite what this experiment is supposed to be testing has been the subject of much speculation and to this day remains rather hard to determine. What is not in doubt however is the threat that this "experiment" poses to out future access. Not just to Chapel Gate of course but to the whole Peak Park area.
I believe that this order, if made permanent would be the thin edge of a very large wedge.
The future of our access in the Peak District is important for a lot of reasons, not least because this national park boast some of the best and most accessible green lanes in the country but it's more than just that. If this blanket closure goes ahead in it's current form then it will be a major victory for those organisations and individuals who seek nothing less than to destroy all legal recreational vehicle access in this country.
They may be starting with the national parks but unless we act decisively they will not stop until all of our activities are illegal in every county in this country.
Exageration? You decide for yourself but I don't think so. Access to our national parks is a national issue and I believe that it requires nothing less than a national response.
Strangely and due to the bizarre way in which the relevant legislation is worded, anyone who wishes to object to the adoption on a permanent basis of an experimental TRO is required to do so during th efirst six months of that experiment.
Now quite how you are supposed to comment meaningfully on an experiment that is less than a third of the way through is beyond me but despite the inherent silliness of this it is what the relevant legislation requires.
So, as the first six months of the Chapel Gate ETRO expires at the end of February 2012 we have, as the title of this post states, about three weeks in which to oppose the permanent adoption of the current closure.
So what are you waiting for? Lets get objecting!
Letters or Emails stating your objection to the permanent adoption of the experimental TRO should be sent to:
Access and RoW Manager
The Peak District National Park Authority