National Parks on the BBC

The issue of how to manage opposing views about 4x4 and trail bike use on green lanes in the Peak District National Park is highlighted in one episode of a new three-part TV documentary on BBC4, Tales from the National Parks. Other episodes of the show will feature planning controversies in the Lake District and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs.

Trail bikes at Chapel Gate, the subject of a recent Traffic Regulation Order

Award-winning fly-on-the-wall film maker Richard Macer spent a year following staff from the three National Parks, on 'a journey to discover who they are really for'.

The BBC were given behind the scenes access to the Peak District National Park Authority's rights of way team, to help the public understand the challenges of managing a complex legal issue that arouses strong passions about the balance required to conserve and enhance the environment, while allowing people legal access to the countryside.

The documentary features local residents and protest groups wanting 4x4s and trail bikes banned from Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs) in the national park and motor vehicle users who are fighting to keep their legal rights to continue using these unsurfaced countryside routes.

Jim Dixon, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said:

'We gave Richard Macer and his team full access to internal meetings, meetings with the public and our committees so viewers could see the real issues the rights of way team face on a daily basis.'

'During the course of the year's filming you are able to see the very different views of people on both sides of the argument, how the issue develops and the difficult and challenging role we play in managing the issue.'

Part of the documentary covers the decision to introduce an experimental Traffic Regulation Order banning 4x4s and trail bikes from using Chapel Gate near Edale (see UKH news), and the programme ends with news that the order is being challenged in the High Court by the Trail Riders' Fellowship.

The other two episodes feature controversy over planning applications for a large zip wire at Honister in the Lake District, and a gold mine near Ben Lui in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.

Tales from the National Parks on BBC4:

  • Lake District, 9pm Sunday 23 October
  • Peak District, 9pm Sunday 30 October
  • Loch Lomond and the Trossachs, 9pm Sunday 6 November

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