The Peak District National Park Authority have set out their position on the restoration of the railway line between Matlock and Buxton. Organisations including Manchester & East Midlands Rail Action Partnership (MEMRAP) have developed proposals, and are campaigning for the reinstatement of a railway line on the route now known as the Monsal Trail.
They have stated that there are two key tests that will need to be applied to any proposal to re-instate a railway line on the Monsal Trail, and the bar for each of these tests is set high due to the nature of the trail and its location. These tests are:
The first test is strategic need and is that need in the national interest? This is important because of the principle of considering major development in the National Park and the specific impact on the Natural Zone, which has the highest level of protection in the National Park, characterised as the wilder parts of the landscape
The second test is impact on the existing transport corridor. Can an equally convenient and acceptable provision of the Monsal Trail be provided elsewhere that is of a similar quality and without having an unacceptable impact on the high quality landscape and environment through which it passes?
The Authority has worked with MEMRAP to understand if their current proposal can pass these tests, however to date we have not received anything to indicate the tests can, or have, been overcome by their work.