Epping Forest riders call for support in their fight against charges to ride

Riders who use Epping Forest in Essex are campaigning to stop the Corporation of London introducinga licensing scheme to ride there. They are calling for supporters to register their disapproval by 30 September.

If proposals go through, riders could be charged £40 per year to use the network of tracks.

Joint chairman of the Epping Forest Riders Association, Adrian Liddle, said: “We believe if the charges are introduced, it will force many riders to go on the roads, which are very dangerous around here. There is no reason for the charges, it will benefit no-one and the corporation will probably lose money.”

But the corporation is defending its plans. It says the reason for introducing the charges is so those riders, who will be issued with a numbered disc, will be easily identifiable if there is a problem such as riding where they shouldn’t.

Spokeswoman for the corporation, Tricia Moxey, refutes suggestions that the corporation is anti-rider and wants to discourage riding in the forest.

” We have spent a fortune over the past 30 years providing a surfaced 25 mile-track. All visitors to the forest are welcome if they use it sensibly. We know the roads are dangerous and want to encourage people to keep off them.”

But she said it was “quite likely” the administration costs could outweigh the revenue from the scheme.

Anyone who objects to the proposals must should contact the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) by 30 September.e-mail:access@defra.gsi.gov.uk or (fax: 0117 372 8250).Contact Adrian Liddle (tel: 020 8539 8100) or e-mail: adltack@ukgateway.net.