Controversial New Forest Cycling Charter voted through by NPA members

New Forest National Park Authority members voted through a voluntary charter, which looks to cap cycling events to 1,000 participants, by 14 votes to two

The controversial Cycling Charter proposed by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) has been voted through by its members, although two MPs will fight for further legislation on the size of cycling events.

The Charter, which plans to limit cycling events to 1,000 participants, is voluntary and was voted through by 14 votes to two last night, although Desmond Swayne and Julian Lewis insist they will try to get tighter regulations.

Mr Swayne told the Bournemouth Echo after the meeting: “The charter is a step in the right direction, but it’s voluntary.

“A limit on numbers is an important element. That is why we will continue to try to get enforceable regulations.”

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The Charter is described as "discriminatory and disproportionate" in a joint letter from British Cycling, CTC and Sustrans but NPA member Cllr Maureen Holding told fellow NPA members: “If this doesn’t work we should call in the MPs and go for rules and regulations that are enforceable. We want safety in our forest.”

County councillor David Harrison told members that there was "zero chance" that the Government would introduce new laws to restrict event numbers. Cllr Harrison was one of just three members to vote in favour of an amendment to the charter that would see events dealt with on a case by case basis - 17 voted against the amendment.

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Cllr Harrison told the meeting: “Recent large-scale cycling events have taken place with barely a problem.

“They involved hundreds of people visiting the area, enjoying themselves, benefiting the economy and raising thousands of pounds for charitable causes.

“I want the organisers to be around the table when events are planned. I want co-operation, not confrontation.”