Peak District Mountain Biking (PDMTB), Ride Sheffield, Friends of the Peak District (FoPD), Keeper of the Peak and the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) met with Derbyshire County Council (DCC) today, Dec 2. We will produce a full report that will be made available to everyone as soon as we can, in the meantime here is a quick update as to the events of today.
The meeting actually happened in no small part because of the intensity of feelings generated by the works on Rushup Edge being seen as one trail too far. The weight of the protest and the volume of noise generated across a wide range of media was substantial and a major factor in us being able to organise this meeting with DCC. Thank you for all your support in helping opening the door. So, on to the meeting itself…
We went with the ambitious aims of securing a cessation to the current works, agreement upon greater consultation on the routes and materials, and feeding that into a plan of works upon which we could all agree.
One thing that became apparent very quickly was that DCC was acutely aware that there was a breakdown in consultation process with the organisations for which they have a statutory duty to consult – the Peak District National Park Authority (PDNPA) and the Local Access Forum (LAF) over Rushup Edge. And, there was an open admission that there had been absolutely no consultation with any user group about their programme of works and the materials to be used.
This admission, and apology, came with strenuous affirmations that DCC would endeavour to consult on a wider and more thorough basis from this point. The user groups involved in the meeting have undertaken to do all that they can to find, and propose, an efficient method of facilitating this consultation.
However, we have to be confident that consultation is more than simply a listening exercise and that it will have a direct effect upon the actions of DCC in the future. In particular, we have to be able to reassure our members that future work will fit in with the Peak District landscape and uses the appropriate materials and retains the challenge that many users seek. This is the next part of the journey upon which we have embarked.
We have been assured that there will be consultation on Hurst Clough and Bamford Clough, the next routes DCC advised that will receive their attention, and we await the call from DCC.
So, the million dollar question. What is to become of the works on Rushup Edge? The plans that we have seen, and the information communicated, indicate that much of the bed-rock will remain exposed but, and it’s a big but, all of the steps will be covered and made level using gritstone. This is not what the PDNPA asked for and it falls short of what most mountain bikers would like to see. It is certainly a better outcome than the whole route being flattened, and the use of road planings.
We would like to hear your thoughts on this so please contribute on the Peak District MTB Facebook Page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As we stated at the top of this update, a longer and more comprehensive report will be forthcoming. In the meantime this link will take you to a digital version of the report compiled and submitted to DCC – dccrebuttalv9