Over 1,500 respond to Future Forest consultation

Walking at Rhinefield

Published Thursday 14 September 2017

Over 1,500 individuals and organisations gave their views on priorities for managing recreation in and around the New Forest National Park.

The Forestry Commission, Natural England, Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and the Verderers asked the National Park Authority to conduct the Future Forest consultation on behalf of the statutory bodies.

The aim of the Future Forest consultation 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 online survey over eight weeks this summer was the first stage of the process of updating the 2010 Recreation Management Strategy and over 7,000 comments were received. The aim was to hear the views of a wide range of local people and visitors, including people who don’t normally get involved in public consultations.

A series of drop-in sessions were also held around the New Forest and visitors to the New Forest Show found out more on the National Park Authority stand.

Of 1,553 people and organisations that responded, nearly 80 per cent had never taken part in a New Forest consultation before. Almost half said they heard about the Future Forest consultation on social media.

Deputy Surveyor Bruce Rothnie, of the Forestry Commission, said: ‘The Forestry Commission manages many recreational facilities across the core of the New Forest so I’m encouraged by the wide-range of responses received, the feedback will ensure that future decisions will be well advised and informed. Over the next few months we’ll review the priorities for managing recreation and there will be a further chance for public consultation on the proposals next year.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘The question of how we manage recreation and protect the National Park over the coming decades is at a critical point and we must work together to ensure the Forest is fit to face the future. We are pleased that so many have taken the time to share their views on this very important issue.’

All the feedback is currently being analysed and will help inform a draft update to the Recreation Management Strategy for further consultation next year.

Keep up to date at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/futureforest.

 -ends-

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 contact

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

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