Local MP backs exciting New Forest projects

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Published Friday 26 August 2016

Projects to improve water quality, catalogue historical materials and remove invasive plants in the New Forest National Park have received the support of a local MP.

The beneficial impact of these projects has been recognised by Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes, who visited the New Forest last week as a guest of the National Park Authority.

Caroline braved unseasonably wet weather to meet the Blackwater Conservation Group – a volunteer group supported by the New Forest National Park Authority – and see the work they are doing to improve their local environment. This includes testing the water quality of their local rivers as well as removing hundreds of metres of the invasive plant Himalayan balsam.

The MP - who lives within the National Park near Romsey - also visited land in the north east of the New Forest.

This land is being restored to benefit wildlife thanks to a £4.4m landscape partnership scheme funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. As part of the Nature’s Stepping Stones strand within the scheme, the land will be fenced and scrub will be cleared to allow animals to graze the site naturally. This will benefit wildlife and support the ancient practice of commoning, where ponies and cattle are turned out onto the Forest to graze.

New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes, said: ‘It was a pleasure to show Caroline some of our work to protect and promote the New Forest. It was a welcome opportunity to show how working closely in partnership with other organisations allows us to maximise our positive impact in the National Park. This includes the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme, where we are working with 10 partners to make the Forest fit for the future.’

Romsey and Southampton North MP Caroline Nokes, said: ‘I was delighted to be given a tour of some important New Forest sites by Alison Barnes and her team. The practice of commoning is largely unique in the UK and I was pleased to see how much effort the National Park Authority is putting in to support new generations.  

‘The Blackwater Conservation group, is one example of the fantastic community schemes dedicated to removing invasive species and it was very interesting to see some of the work they are doing.’

For more information on the Our Past, Our Future scheme visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/landscapepartnership

-ends-

Notes to Photo Editor:

Caroline Nokes, Romsey and Southampton North MP with Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, New Forest National Park Authority Chairman.

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.

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/landscapepartnership

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk@heritagelottery @HLFSouthEast

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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