Commoning recommendations handed over to the National Park Authority

Published Thursday 27 September 2007

A recipe for the future of commoning in the New Forest has today been served up - by the commoners themselves.

The New Forest National Park Authority has received the Commoning Review report from the New Forest Commoning Review Group with recommendations on how to secure the long-term future of commoning in the New Forest.

The Authority considers the future sustainability of commoning to be one of its key priorities and set up the Commoning Review Group, chaired by the Official Verderer, Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre in autumn 2006 to look at how best to safeguard its future.

A total of 28 recommendations have been outlined by the Review Group which include: improving financial returns, supporting young commoners; open Forest grazing; planning; housing and back-up land; education and awareness-raising.

The Review Group has worked closely with the commoning community to ensure the widest possible involvement. There have been several public events and commoner-led focus groups set up to explore key issues.

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the group, said: ‘It is to the National Park Authority’s credit that they decided to ask the owners of the thousands of animals that graze the Forest for their views on what their problems actually are.  

‘Regrettably many of the problems that face commoners today are the same as those faced by the previous generation, which simply proves how difficult the ongoing task of securing the viability of commoning actually is.

‘This review is of significant importance because it carries with it special weight, since it is the voice of the commoners themselves. We have every hope that the National Park will hear that voice, and act upon it.’

Clive Chatters, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘I am pleased to receive this report and I am grateful for the work and enthusiasm of the commoners in producing it and to Oliver for overseeing the process.

‘Commoning is crucial to the vitality of the Forest. Commoning was the number one priority in the consultation we held in December 2005. This initiative shows the Authority is listening to and supporting the work of commoners - and this is the way we want to continue working with the commoning community.’

The National Park Authority’s next step will be to consider the report at its next Authority meeting on the 18 October 2007.


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

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