New Forest National Park becomes a reality

Published Tuesday 1 March 2005

March 1st 2005 is the birth date of the New Forest National Park, Alun Michael Rural Affairs Minister confirmed today.

The New Forest becomes the newest member of the National Parks family and the first in England since the 1980s.

The decision to designate the New Forest as a National Park was announced in June 2004, following a seven month public inquiry. Since then, further hearings have been held to determine the exact boundary of the Park, and March 1st marks its formal designation.

Mr Michael commented:

"This will be an historic day. After 900 years of special recognition, and 50 years after it was first considered for designation, the New Forest will finally have National Park status.

"It takes its place alongside areas such as Dartmoor and the Lake District in the first rank of our protected areas. Like the existing Parks it will have a vital role in conserving our natural and cultural heritage, and in balancing environmental priorities with those of communities. It needs to protect its unique character - valued by so many people, and acknowledged as a national treasure for nearly a thousand years - whilst remaining a working, living place with social and economic needs."

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