A PROPOSAL to introduce a cap on cyclists taking part in New Forest rides has been criticised as ‘unfair’.

As part of its controversial Cycling Charter, members of the New Forest National Park Authority decided to include a cap of 1,000 riders and a requirement for cyclists to wear rear ID numbers.

And if the cap is not adhered to by ride organisers, members could try and persuade the Government to change the law, so local authorities have greater control.

At a meeting of the authority’s resources, audit and performance com-mittee on November 10, mem-bers heard that the proposal, which was made in June, had received a “mixed reaction” from the Cycling Liaison Group, the body established to devise the Charter.

The report said: “We are awaiting confirmation of support from key statutory organisations for the revised wording.”

It added: “Cycle events remain contentious.

“When the Charter is final-ised, it will be promoted widely.

“A key meas-ure of success will be whether event organisers comply with the cap and number-ing even if they do not agree with these parts of the Charter; given the delay in finalising the Charter, it is likely to be April 2015 before we can make this judgement.”

However, the minutes from the original June meeting did not include the decision by members to introduce the cap, due to errors made by the authority.

Cllr David Harrison, a member of the New Forest National Park Authority, commented: “To be clear, this is the Cycling Charter which is a voluntary series of agreements between lots of different agencies.

“The aim [is] to make sure that the large-scale cycling events could take place in the New Forest without conflict,” he added.

“I think it’s not practical and not fair.

“But it can’t be enforced. The point of the charter is that it’s a volunteer agreement.”