BBC Countryfile to feature Operation Blackbrook

A police operation to target concerns about illegal and irresponsible off-roading in the Peak District is set to appear on special rural affairs television programme this week.

BBC Countryfile presenter John Craven and his film crew visited Bakewell police station on Monday (November 29) to chat to PC Kevin Lowe, who has co-ordinated the campaign from its launch in April 2007.

They also held part of the interview for the magazine style show at Monsal Head to get a backdrop of the Derbyshire Dales, including beautiful views towards Monsal Dale and the Wye Valley.

Operation Blackbrook is a long-term partnership initiative which was set up to reduce the impact of irresponsible off-roading on local residents and the countryside.

Filming is also being carried out for a BBC Four documentary on the issue and crews came out with officers during the last project day on Sunday, November 28.

PC Lowe said: “I have been well aware for some time that there has been interest on a wider national basis in Operation Blackbrook.

“The ethos of information and communication, leaving enforcement as a last resort has certainly worked here in Derbyshire and I have had a good exchange of best practise with officers in Brecon, Dyfed Powys, with coordinated operations taking place on the same date.”

Project days are held throughout the year at different locations involving officers from Roads Policing Unit and Safer Neighbourhood officers, together with Peak District National Park Rangers and representatives from off road user groups.

While the team carries out spot checks, the main focus of the campaign is to engage with 4×4 drivers and motorcycle riders to highlight their rights and responsibilities on lawful off-road tracks.

Specialist information leaflets provided by the Peak District National Park and Tread Lightly, an organisation which aims to educate and promote responsible recreation are also handed out to off-roaders.

In addition, residents and off-road riders and drivers are invited to air their views at regular meetings in Bakewell alongside police officers and representatives from off road user groups, Safer Derbyshire Dales Community Safety Partnership, Derbyshire County Council and the Peak District National Park Authority.

PC Lowe added: “There is no doubt in my mind that it is a rogue element of drivers and riders that we seek to influence and I am thankful of the continued partnership working.

“The positive progression of this project will continue to improve the quality of life of residents and as a police service it is important we are seen to play our part serving residents and other interested parties in preserving the Peak District in a state that we would wish to see it in for future generations.

“The national television interest of Countryfile and the BBC Four documentary next year can only enhance the profile of Operation Blackbrook.”

Countryfile has been moved to a prime-time spot in recent months and now attracts over seven million viewers each week.

The operation is set to appear as part of a wider feature on the issue of off-roading this Sunday (December 12) at 6pm on BBC One.

BBC Four is continuing to film footage alongside the Peak District National Park Authority for a documentary which is expected to be aired late 2011.