New Forest National Park fight proposed air space expansion

Published Friday 10 August 2007

The New Forest National Park Authority has strongly objected to proposals by the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) to expand the area of ‘controlled’ airspace over the National Park.

The proposals would result in some of the most tranquil areas of the New Forest being overflown by commercial aircraft.

In a recent National Park Authority consultation, local people, visitors and organisations were asked to say what they considered to be special about the New Forest, responses included: ‘…tranquillity in the midst of the built up south of England,’ ‘…opportunities for quiet recreation,’ ‘fresh air,’ a ‘sense of wilderness,’ and ‘low levels of urbanisation.’

If the expansion of the area of controlled airspace over the New Forest is permitted (alongside the expansion plans at Bournemouth and Southampton airports), the Authority believes the opportunities for quiet recreation and finding a ‘sense of wilderness’ in the National Park will be lost. The National Air Traffic Services has already admitted that the noise associated with the proposed airspace will have a greater impact on the New Forest National Park where ambient noise levels are low.  

The Authority commissioned its own noise assessment of the potential impacts the increased over-flying would have on the National Park, it concluded that a greater area of the National Park would be affected by aircraft noise than now and would be detrimental to the tranquil nature of the National Park. It is likely to cause a disturbance to the residents and also seriously affect visitor enjoyment.

John Ward, Director of Strategy and Planning, said: ‘We feel that the National Air Traffic Service has not taken into account their statutory duty under Section 62 of the Environment Act and has not considered the impact the increase in airspace will have on the National Park and indeed, those who live under this new ‘proposed’ airspace.

‘They have provided no alternative options that would lessen or remove the impact on the Park and have certainly not taken into account the potential increase in air traffic being situated near two regional airports. Statistics show that the number of flights from Bournemouth and Southampton airport will rise by 56 per cent in 2015 and 146 per cent by 2030.

Clive Chatters, Chairman, said: ’We are passionate about the special qualities our National Park has to offer and we certainly don’t want to see them be eroded by increased aircraft movements over the Forest.

‘The New Forest is one of the few remaining hubs of tranquillity and wilderness left in the south-east of England and we want it to stay that way.’


Notes to Editors:
The New Forest was designated a National Park in 2005, providing added protection to its landscape and scenic beauty.

The Authority has two key purposes; to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Forest and to provide opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the Park’s special qualities.

Media Contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

More articles in the news archive.

New Forest National Park Authority news feed


image-fade-right image-fade-left