Page last updated at 18:27 GMT, Monday, 27 October 2008

Council attacks New Forest plan

Protest at Wilverly Plain on Saturday
More than 700 people took part in a protest earlier in October

Controversial plans to introduce road tolls in Hampshire's New Forest have been criticised by councillors.

The National Park Plan also proposes banning dogs from certain areas and changing planning rules which could affect how horses are kept.

Hampshire County Council believes the plans are too restrictive and could harm the economy of the New Forest.

The New Forest National Park Authority said its focus was protecting the park for another millennium.

Not effective solution

Councillor Ken Thornber, leader of Hampshire County Council, said: "I think everyone would agree that the conservation of the National Park is essential, but I think the park authority is being over restrictive.

"It needs to look at how conservation can be achieved while allowing people to enjoy the Forest and its communities to prosper."

He also ruled out any plans to introduce tolls on forest roads.

"Hampshire County Council is responsible for the highways, and road pricing is not on this administration's agenda, not in the New Forest or anywhere in the county.

"We do not think that road pricing is an effective solution."

A public consultation period on the draft plan was extended until 14 November following a rally by residents, who said they had been having difficulty getting hold of hard copies.

Earlier this month, about 700 people protested against the plans at Wilverley Plain, near Brockenhurst.

Dog owners meet over forest plan
12 Oct 08 |  Hampshire
Forest plan extension considered
06 Oct 08 |  Hampshire
Protest against New Forest plan
04 Oct 08 |  Hampshire

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