7. Objective – Thriving Forest
Re:New Forest – Partnership Plan
Thriving Forest Outcome: A living, working Forest is sustained through support for cultural heritage, commoning, local produce, sustainable tourism, access to affordable homes and helping to attract high-value businesses and employees.
Why is it important?
The New Forest is a living working landscape. It is one of the few remaining extensive systems of common rights operating in lowland Europe. Maintaining a high-quality natural environment can also contribute substantial economic benefits by supporting sustainable tourism and helping to attract high-value businesses and employees. Local produce and local businesses are vital to the health and well being of our rural environment and local economy.
National policy also recognises the need for small-scale, sustainably located development within national parks to support the socio-economic well-being of our communities. We need to support community and economic recovery from Covid-19 and address societal issues such as the high cost of housing and an ageing population.
Agenda for Action
We will do this through a collective programme of work that:
3.1. Increases green skills and jobs by:
3.1.1. Establishing a centre of excellence for green skills and jobs and invest in natural capital skills hub
3.1.2. Developing a strategy and opportunities for young people through education and training
3.1.3. Designing an apprenticeship programme building on the ‘Our Past, Our Future’ (OPOF) ranger scheme
3.1.4. Creating a green recovery/investment fund
3.2. Supports Sustainable Land Management by:
3.2.1. Developing new business models with landowners to support the delivery of public goods
3.2.2. Maintaining and enhancing public goods through commoning and farming
3.2.3. Facilitating the Forest Farming Group
3.3. Champions the future of New Forest Commoning by:
3.3.1. Securing the future of commoning
3.3.2. Collaborating at landscape scale with commons groups (Foundation for Common Land)
3.4. Supports New Forest Business and Green Tourism by:
3.4.1 Encouraging green investment by businesses
3.4.2 Supporting local produce through the New Forest Marque
3.5. Increases the availability of affordable housing by:
3.5.1. Providing more affordable housing for local communities and retaining the existing stock of affordable and occupancy restricted housing
3.5.2. Facilitating site finding, community involvement and application process through the ‘rural exception route’
3.5.3. Better monitoring and reporting of availability of restricted housing stock (conditions/leases/tenancy agreements)