A NEW cycle path is to have its width reduced following a petition to protect wildlife, but campaigners say it is ‘not enough’.

More than 900 people have signed the petition to protect species of orchids and wildlife living in the grassland along Burton Road, where a cycle path is currently being installed, calling for it to be re-directed.

Residents have also raised concerns that the three-metre width of the path is too wide and should be reduced to retain as much grassland as possible.

The Dorset Council scheme aims to connect existing the existing cycle path in Bridport along Sea Road South with West Bay, linking with the footpath formed on the old railway line to West Bay.

In response to the petition, Dorset Council has announced that sections of the cycleway along the railway track are being narrowed to 2.5m

Matthew Piles, service director for environment, infrastructure and economy, said: “Dorset has a rich environment and every highway scheme we design is overseen by our ecologists to make sure we continue to protect our wildlife and to identify opportunities for improving natural habitats within our roadside verges.

“We are keeping an environmental watching brief on site and, where necessary, making small changes to the design and developing our mitigation measures as we progress.

“This includes acting on information from concerned residents where they have information on wildlife sightings in the immediate area.

“I would like to remind local residents that any frustrations they feel about this scheme should be communicated to the project team and the workers on site should be left to do their jobs. They are building the cycleway to the design they have been provided.”

The petition was started by Bridport resident and wildlife expert, Professor Tom Brereton, after he found out about the plans.

However, he feels this latest development doesn’t go far enough to protect the fauna and wildlife.

He said: “The path is only this wide in a few places, so I am not sure whether and how much of a concession this is without any further details.

“Two and a half metres in undefined places still does not go far enough in our opinion, as two metres should be the standard to aim for along with saving orchid habitat where it remains.”