Environment Minister meets nature conservation leaders in the New Forest National Park

Environment Minister Richard Benyon visits Bisterne Estate

Published Monday 15 July 2013

National leaders in nature conservation met the Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries in the New Forest National Park to visit projects working to improve the rare landscape.

Richard Benyon MP joined the England Biodiversity Stakeholder Group to tour the Bisterne Estate near Ringwood, hosted by the New Forest National Park Authority in conjunction with the Bisterne Farms Estate.

The Group includes national representatives of the Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Defra, National Farmers Union, Country Landowners Association, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Parks and Wildlife and Countryside Link.

Projects led by the New Forest National Park Authority and its partners to benefit habitats and wildlife include:

  • a national pilot project to improve rivers and streams
  • helping seven New Forest communities to discover wildlife on their doorstep and plan how to improve it
  • a scheme to improve the Forest’s 1,000 ponds
  • work with landowners to access grants, training and advice to help them manage their land for wildlife
  • the creation of wildlife ‘corridors’ with landowners to help species thrive across the wider New Forest landscape
  • a scheme to help woodland owners make their woodlands profitable and stimulate a local woodfuel market.

The Group looked at the work the New Forest Land Advice Service has done with the Bisterne Estate to connect the habitats of the New Forest with the Avon Valley to benefit wildlife and to show how the New Forest National Park is leading the way nationally in this area.

Fisheries and Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon said: ‘Preserving our country’s rich biodiversity is vitally important, not just for us, but for future generations. This is exactly the sort of project that will make this happen. 

‘I hope the New Forest National Park Authority will share their experience so that this time next year many similar projects will also be under way.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes, who represents English National Parks on the Stakeholder Group, said: ‘Local initiatives such as this at Bisterne are crucial to achieving and safeguarding biodiversity for the future and we wanted to share our experience and have the benefit of the Group’s input as national experts.

‘They said they were very impressed with what has been achieved and we were delighted to be able to work with Hallam Mills at the Estate to host the visit and demonstrate what can be done by working creatively together.’

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Photo Caption:

(left to right) New Forest National Park Chief Executive Alison Barnes, Environment Minister Richard Benyon, Bisterne Estate owner Hallam Mills, and the England Biodiversity Stakeholder Group view wildlife initiatives on the Estate.

Notes to Editor:

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect

  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.

Media Contacts:
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608
Email: hilary.makin@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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