URGENT NEED FOR HISTORICAL EVIDENCE IN BID TO SAVE PEAK LANES

Originally Published: May 2017
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THE PEAK AND DERBYSHIRE VEHICLE USER GROUP (PDVUG) is appealing for assistance from people who may have driven green lanes in
the Peak District in years gone by.

PDVUG acts to be one voice for national recreational driving groups (especially the Green Lane Association, GLASS) and for local clubs whose members use green lanes in the Peak District and Derbyshire, by maintaining a dialogue with the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) and Derbyshire County Council (DCC). The Group fights to ensure as many lanes as possible are recorded formally by DCC as
having vehicular rights, as well as challenging efforts by PDNPA to put TROs on rights of way which bring visitors to the Peak District.

Currently, DCC is undertaking a review of more than 100 applications for some disputed rights of way and for many unsealed, unclassified roads to be confirmed as byways open to all traffic (BOATS). The review of each lane involves DCC researching maps and legal documents dating from around 1750 to the present day. 

‘We are losing lanes because the evidence is indicating a lack of historical vehicle rights,’  explains PDVUG. ‘The only way we can prevent lanes from becoming bridleways and footpaths is to provide User Evidence.’

Proving actual vehicle use can often over-ride the historical evidence and is the best way to secure a lane’s future. User evidence takes the form of a statement of prior use by means of a brief questionnaire being completed by anyone who has driven a particular lane.

‘Unfortunately,’ continues PDVUG, ‘due to the way the law is written we need evidence of vehicle use for a 20-year period, which is usually
from around 1980 to 2004.’

Many people currently driving the lanes did not do so in the 1980s and 90s, either because they are new to the activity or are simply
too young. PDVUG is in particular anxious to hear from older green lane users who still drive, or have driven, lanes in the Peak District;
the group wants to know if you would be willing to support its efforts by sending a very brief email to PDVUG@yahoo.com, or by contacting it via Facebook (under PDVUG) or Twitter (@PDVUG).

Respondents will receive an emailed map showing which lanes PDVUG needs user evidence for and asking them to complete a simple questionnaire. ‘That way,’ it says, ‘we can capture any driving history and keep the lanes open now and for future generations.’

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