Illegal off-roaders wrecking precious moorland above Holmfirth need to be stopped, says the representative of an organisation dedicated to driving in the countryside.
Alex Davidson, West Yorkshire representative of Green Lane Association (GLASS), hit out following a recent report in the Examiner which highlighted the damage being caused to the moors on the northern fringe of the Peak District national park.
The 4,000 acres at Snailsden Moor between Holmbridge and Hade Edge have been targeted by off-roaders.
The land, owned by Yorkshire Water, is a designated Site of Scientific Interest and home to rare and endangered birds such as the curlew and golden plover to rare plants and mosses such as sphagnum and bog asphodel.
Mr Davidson said: “GLASS is a national rights of way user group representing the interests of users of the unsurfaced highways, or, green lanes in England and Wales.
“We, as an organisation, promote responsible and sustainable driving in the countryside, trying to educate users to this end. Where problems do exist we try to take an integral role in rights of way management.
“The actions of irresponsible users highlighted by your article are put quite simply ‘illegal off-road driving’ where no right of way exist and GLASS condemn such actions.
“We have been active in the Holmfirth area for some time, particularly in the Ramsden/Yateholme area trying to prevent people driving off the legal right of way.
“We have put up signage to that effect and last year, in collaboration with West Yorkshire Police, Peak Park Rangers, Trail Riders Fellowship and local residents held an awareness/education day in that area talking to drivers/riders to promote responsible use of the rights of way.
“I myself have recently been spending quite some of time on this issue and had a meeting with a former farmer and tenant of the land in question last weekend.
“I am meeting a local resident next weekend to look at problem areas.
“GLASS will continue to do whatever we can to prevent this issue and we would be more than happy to talk to, and to work with the agencies involved to this end.
“These illegal off-roaders need to be stopped. It is not ‘green-laneing’, it is simply illegal.”
“I am happy to discuss this issue, possible actions and solutions with anyone concerned and can be contacted at the website email@example.com"
Jim Sutton, of the Peak District Moorland Group which represents landowners and those with sporting rights on the moors, said illegal off-roading on the moors had been going on for years but added: “It does appear to be getting worse and worse.”