New Forest NIMBYism

The New Forest National Park Authority, responsible for the 220 square mile wooded reserve, has scrapped the planned implementation of a rural bicycle hire scheme which had already secured funding, a supplier and much public support.

The rental scheme, which would have been funded by a grant from the Department for Transport, would have provided locals and visitors to the park 250 bikes at 20 docking stations.

The authority had already found a number of businesses willing to host the docks and had named US company B-Cycle as the supplier of the system, before it decided to pull the plug on the plans.

h3. Financial instability

Concerns were raised by members of the authority that sponsors would not be found for the scheme in the future which would affect the long term financial stability of the scheme, yet Graham Bright of B-Cycle said that concerns over sponsorship were “misguided” and could be “easily addressed”.

h3. Local opposition

The authority was also swayed by opposition from some locals to the scheme, which they thought would make it difficult to set up a viable network as locals might not ‘support’ docking stations.

John Stevenson, editor of online cycling publication,, believes that the authority backed down on its plans because it expected local opponents would sabotage the docks.

Locals have been known to sabotage cycling events in the New Forest by placing tacks and slurry on the roads and removing signage.

Local cyclists say the sabotage of sportive events is the work of a small but vocal group who erroneously claim that cyclists riding through New Forest villages can cause more danger that cars.

The authority says it plans to spend the funding intended for the scheme (£2m) on other local cycling projects.

h3. Petition

A petition has been set up calling on the New Forest National Park Authority to proceed with the original bike hire plans. The petition has so far obtained over 2,000 signatures.

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