Draft New Forest Cycle Events Charter Published

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Posted Friday 2nd May 2014 –

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A New Forest charter for cycle event organisers has been compiled by a group of over 20 organisations and has been posted in draft form on the New Forest National Park Authority’s website. It will now go through a process of gaining feedback from parish councils, Authority members and New Forest District Council before the final version is published.

The Cycling Liaison Group was set up following concerns about the impact of mass participation cycle events on the New Forest National Park and have previously agreed a revised cycling code for the New Forest, which encourages responsible cycling.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Recreation Management and Learning at the National Park Authority, said: ‘The National Park Authority convened this group to encourage responsible cycling which is in keeping with the special qualities and purposes of the National Park. The draft Charter confirms the central role played by the New Forest Public Events and Safety Advisory Group – which brings together the Highway Authority, District Council, the Police and others – through which individual events are assessed in advance and monitored.’

The draft Charter is designed to provide organisers guidance on –
– planning cycle events
– liaising with local communities, landowners and organisations
– advising participants in advance about appropriate behaviour
– responsibilities of event organisers during and after the event (for example: effective marshalling, signage, litter picking, mechanisms for feedback).

Nigel Matthews said: ‘Obviously the charter does not supersede the Highway Code but the New Forest is unique in that it is a working forest with forestry, farming and equestrian activity on its narrow roads and tracks and free-roaming animals. Great care is needed to avoid unnecessary conflict and ensure the safety of all. A number of forest organisations, cycling organisations and cycle event companies are members of the Cycling Liaison Group and have helped draw up the charter, so we are confident that event organisers will find it useful and implement its recommendations. We will review the charter after a year.’

He added: ‘The New Forest National Park Authority owns no land, does not manage any tracks or roads and has no authority over other organisations. However we have been pleased to play a key role in encouraging groups to work together for the benefit of the National Park, its residents and visitors.’

To view the draft charter for cycle event organisers go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/cycle-charter.