Future Forest ‘call for views consultation’

Walking at Rhinefield

Published Wednesday 14 June 2017

Join the debate about recreation management in the New Forest

Forest organisations with the main remit for both protecting the National Park and enabling people to enjoy it are asking for your views on managing recreation.

The Forestry Commission, Natural England, Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and the Verderers have asked the National Park Authority to lead on the consultation.

The aim is to:

  • provide the best recreational experience for local people and visitors
  • protect the very thing people come to see – the spectacular, yet fragile landscape which is a haven for many rare wildlife species
  • ensure limited resources are spent wisely.

The first stage of the process is to update the 2010 Recreation Management Strategy and prioritise tasks to manage outdoor recreation across the whole of the New Forest and surrounding areas.

This ‘call for views’ from Monday 19 June to 13 August, will be followed by further public consultation on proposed priorities next year.

Deputy Surveyor Bruce Rothnie, of the Forestry Commission, said: ‘The Forest infrastructure was put in place in the 1960s and '70s – cattle grids, car parks, campsites – and this has stood us in good stead for some time.

‘But that was 40 years ago, before we knew which areas were richest in wildlife, and the facilities weren’t designed for their current level of use – which looks set to increase even further.

‘The changes in the 1960s and '70s were a significant and pivotal moment in the Forest’s history. Many believe we’re now at that point again and we need people’s help to work together to devise a way forward.’

Over half of the National Park’s unique landscape is internationally important for wildlife - a higher proportion than in any other English National Park, and over 13 million visits are made to it each year.

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘We would like as many people as possible to join us in coming up with bold solutions to manage recreation and protect the Forest. We’re asking people to consider what’s best for the Forest as a whole as well as their own interests.

‘So we are asking everybody to please complete the online survey on the National Park website. There will be a series of drop-in sessions at which people will be able to discuss the consultation and we will also be at the New Forest Show.’

The survey will be live at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/FutureForest.

Drop-in sessions

The drop-in sessions are as follows:

  • Tuesday 4 July: Lyndhurst Community Centre (2pm-8pm)
  • Thursday 6 July: Applemore Health & Leisure Centre (2pm-8pm)
  • Monday 10 July: Lymington Health & Leisure Centre (2pm-8pm)
  • Wednesday 12 July: Fordingbridge Information Office (10am-4pm)
  • Monday 17 July: Sway Village Hall (2pm-8pm)
  • 25-27 July: New Forest Show, New Park, Brockenhurst (all day on the National Park stand).

Consultation timetable

  • 19 June to 13 August 2017: An initial ‘call for views’ to ask people about the overall rationale for managing recreation across the whole of the New Forest and surrounding areas, and to guide the development of revised and prioritised actions.
  • Autumn/winter 2017/18: The update to the Strategy is drafted to reflect the feedback
  • 2018: Public consultation on the draft update.

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