New Forest watchdog says working forest must come before commercial cycling events (From Daily Echo)
When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
New Forest watchdog says working forest must come before commercial cycling events
ONE of the world’s oldest conservation groups has condemned the cancellation of a New Forest pony round-up that clashed with a huge cycling event.
The 146-year-old New Forest Association (NFA) says people involved in preserving the landscape should never take “second place” to large commercial activities.
The round-up was due to be held at New Park, Brockenhurst – home of the New Forest Show – on October 6.
But it was axed amid fears of an accident involving thousands of cyclists taking part in the Wiggle New Forest 100 Sportive, which used neighbouring land as a car park.
The New Forest Equestrian Association has since asked New Forest Show chiefs to stop hiring out the site to organisers of mass cycle events.
But Wiggle bosses have hit back by accusing the Verderers of failing to give them enough notice of roundups – also known as drifts.
The issue was raised at the monthly Court of Verderers in Lyndhurst.
Campaigners claimed the Verderers were right to cancel the round-up but said the situation must never arise again.
NFA chairman Peter Roberts said: “This is a working forest and without the Commoners and their stock it would not exist.
“The fact that this is a National Park does not give commercial interests the right to unlimited access.
“The phrase ‘quiet enjoyment’ has been synonymous with National Parks for decades and should be the criteria here.
“Those who sanction these events must ensure that the working forest never has to take second place to a commercial event again.”
Mike Eccles of the Commoners’ Defence Association added: “The onus must be on mass event organisers to check what other events may be taking place before planning and advertising theirs.
“The New Forest is an irreplaceable national and international asset, it is not simply a conveniently located network of roads available to let out for this commercial exploitation.”
Comments are closed on this article.