Cycling UK and Sustrans united against "discriminatory" New Forest Charter

Cycling UK & Sustrans call for balance form the NFNPA. Photo by Selim Korycki

Cycling UK and Sustrans united against "discriminatory" New Forest Charter

Cycling organisations have taken a united stance today (Wednesday 21 January 2015) in opposing key aspects of the draft New Forest Cycle Event Organisers' Charter proposed by the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA).

The national cycling charity Cycling UK and Sustrans have been actively involved in the Charter’s creation since its beginning and were instrumental in placing the Safety Advisory Group (SAG) at the centre of the process. As a result of their involvement, the Charter overall presents a balanced set of practices which aids in maintaining harmony between all users and inhabitants of the New Forest, and only presents a cause for conflict in certain areas.

However, the Charter in its current form aims to restrict the amount of cyclists to 1,000 per event. This restriction is based on residents and local organisations’ claims that cycling presents a threat to the “special qualities of the forest” and “a danger to people and wildlife”. Currently no evidence has been provided to support these claims.

Cycling UK and Sustrans propose that each event should be judged on a case by case basis, with the number of riders agreed upon by the Safety Advisory Group in the planning process, and not by an arbitrary figure with no basis in real evidence.

The proposed cap on cyclist numbers in the New Forest comes across as both discriminatory and disproportionate."
Tejesh Mistry
Cycling UK Head of Development

Tejesh Mistry, Cycling UK Head of Development, said:

"No other activity outside of cycling enjoys such depth of scrutiny or limitation, so it is exceptionally disappointing that the NFNPA would seek to limit participants that celebrate the forest when there is no basis of evidence to do so beyond anecdote.”

A Sustrans spokesperson commented:

“We want everyone to be able to enjoy all that the New Forest has to offer. However we fear any new charter in the New Forest could have wider implications for changes in other National Parks so getting the right balance now is essential. We need a charter that works for everyone.”

Contact information 

Cycling UK Press Office
Email: publicity@cyclinguk.org.uk
Telephone: 0844-736-8453

Notes to editors 
  1. The draft charter is available via the New Forest National Park Authority: http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/info/20045/things_to_do/36/cycling/
  2. To read the joint letter in response to the draft Charter from Cycling UK, British Cycling and Sustrans visit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m9vy4v3vhlm42wo/NFNPA%20Charter%20Response.pdf?dl=0
  3. For further information on Cycling UK, the UK’s largest cycling charity, inspires and helps people to cycle and keep cycling, whatever kind of cycling they do or would like to do. Over a century’s experience tells us that cycling is more than useful transport; it makes you feel good, gives you a sense of freedom and creates a better environment for everyone. www.cyclinguk.org.uk
  4. For further information on Sustrans see: www.sustrans.org.uk
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