Defra director general visits New Forest National Park

Defra visit new forest national park sonia phippard

Published Thursday 20 August 2015

A senior government official has visited the New Forest National Park to discover more about its crucial role in helping one of the country’s most treasured landscapes to thrive.

Sonia Phippard, Director General for the Policy Delivery Group at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), spent a day seeing how the New Forest National Park Authority works with its many partners to restore and protect vital habitats, support local communities and help visitors enjoy and understand its beautiful landscapes.

The tour included a visit to the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, a wetland restoration site at Blackwater, the new Shipwright School at Buckler’s Hard and discovering more about the New Forest Marque local produce scheme.

The Defra visit was organised by National Parks England, to highlight the value of England’s 10 national parks and some of the challenges they face with fewer resources available. 

Sonia Phippard said: ‘It was a great introduction to the national parks, and an opportunity to discuss some of the issues and challenges.  The visit certainly brought home the breadth and depth of the National Park Authority’s involvement and care for the very special environment, but also for the local community and visitors. It was also a fascinating opportunity to see something of a very special part of England: beautiful whatever the weather.’  

Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We were delighted to host Sonia’s visit to highlight some of our work and the difference it makes. The government understands the importance of National Park Authorities in not only protecting unique and precious habitats for wildlife, but providing good value for money in its support for local economies. For every £1 we contributed to joint projects in 2014-15, it generated a further £13 from partner organisations. We’ll continue to work hard to ensure there are adequate levels of funding to ensure national parks continue to prosper for generations.’ 

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Picture caption: Defra director general visit to the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) at the Shipwright School in Buckler's Hard; (back row from l-r) Nigel Matthews from NFNPA, Stephen Munn from the Beaulieu Estate, Ralph Montagu from the Beaulieu Estate, Steve Avery from NFNPA, Paul Hamblin from National Parks England, Rachel Pearson from the Beaulieu Estate, (front row from l-r) Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre from NFNPA, Jane Overall from New Forest Marque, Alison Barnes from NFNPA and Sonia Phippard from Defra.

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:
Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639
Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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