Government tells New Forest to give back cycle grant

Cyclists enjoying the benefits of the New Forest
CTC gives its reaction to the Government's order for the New Forest National Park Authority to return a £1.5 million grant allocated for cycle specific projects.

CTC has learned that the Department for Transport (DfT) has ordered the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) to return £1.5 million from the £3.6 million grant they received last year., the online cycle news site, reports that the DfT has rejected two schemes proposed by the NFNPA, one of which was criticised as being focused more on road maintenance rather than cycling.

The NFNPA had originally intended to invest £2 million on cycle hire scheme in the national park. This scheme however was abandoned in August this year following a consultation, which later reporting revealed had received broad support for the scheme, with only a vocal minority against it.

As their 'Plan B', the authority had intended to spend £1.25 million on an upgrade of Rhinefield Drive and developments at Moors Valley Country Park. The legitimacy of using funding specifically allocated for cycling in this way was questioned by local campaigners.

Cycling Minister, Robert Goodwill MP, was reported to say that, “Diverting the remaining funding will ensure that cycling infrastructure investment is maximised, and supports delivery of schemes that matter to people.”

CTC hopes this money will now be sensibly reinvested in well-planned cycling projects, not disappear into the black hole of the Treasury.”

Roger Geffen 
CTC Campaigns and Policy Director

In his response to this announcement, Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Director said:

“Given how the New Forest authorities were planning to mis-use the Government’s cycling grant, it is regrettable but right that the Government should now withdraw it.  With the consultation now closing on the Government’s ‘Cycling Delivery Plan’ , this shows exactly why we need long-term ‘funding for cycling’, not rushed projects when Ministers suddenly find a bit of spare change."


Since CTC published the above news story the official Government statement has been published on the DfT website.