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Letter: We must discuss Milford-Barton clifftop erosion

SIR – Anyone who has walked along the Milford to Barton clifftop over the last few years will certainly have noticed the alarming advance of the cliff erosion. I would guess that the pathway has been pushed back at least 50ft in some places over the last five years.

There are clearly many factors involved, over which we have little control. But one where we do is the nature of the traffic.

It is apparent that the increase in traffic, no doubt due to Covid, has led to serious wear and tear. The pathway is denuded of grass and other vegetation and there are many long and deep ruts allowing rain to wash the soil away.

The type of tyres used on bicycles today are a major cause of this and a significant contributor to the damage helping to accelerate the erosion. This predates the Covid crisis and was obvious two to three years ago.

I estimate that cyclists represent about 5% of the traffic but about 90% of the damage.

If the answer is to keep moving back the fencing to maintain the route, then we will be looking at Lyndhurst-by-the-Sea in a few years!

Like climate change, the effect is irreversible; to do nothing is not an option.

A serious debate is required to tackle this problem and at the least a moratorium on bike use for two years to see if that is a key factor.

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