NATIONAL Park chiefs have launched a two-year campaign to cut the number of tourists using cars in the New Forest.

The National Park Authority (NPA) wants to protect the fragile environment by persuading more people to use public transport or cycle.

The award-winning New Forest Tour is due to be extended with a third bus being added to cover the south-west corner of the area and a new bus route serving Lepe Country Park is also under discussion.

It follows the Government’s decision earlier this year to fund new initiatives to reduce the impact of traffic on the New Forest and South Downs national parks.

The Department for Transport has released almost £4m, which must be spent by 2015.

New measures to tackle the problem were revealed at a meeting of the NPA, which heard that bus and rail facilities would be upgraded.

Members welcomed the scheme but said it should be extended to embrace electric cars and the Hythe passenger ferry.

They also stressed the need to reduce congestion in Lyndhurst, which is the Forest’s biggest bottleneck.

NPA member Alan Rice condemned the “dinosaurs” who had repeatedly blocked moves to build a Lyndhurst bypass.

But New Forest councillor Maureen Holding issued a warning over moves to encourage more cycling in the Forest, saying Brockenhurst was already “swamped” during the tourist season.