Additional funding for New Forest National Park welcomedPUBLISHED ON: 1 MARCH 2023
The Secretary of State for the Environment has announced that the New Forest National Park will receive an additional one-off payment this financial year to support increasing costs.
The extra £440,000 will help deliver the ambitious Re:New Forest Partnership Plan for the National Park, focusing on climate, nature, people, place and partnership.
The award is part of an additional £4.4 million which will be provided to the country’s 10 National Park Authorities to support vital services.
Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: ‘Our National Parks are the jewel in our cherished landscapes. They support thriving communities, economies, wildlife and are important places for public health and wellbeing.
‘This additional £4.4 million of funding will support the important work that National Park Authorities do across our countryside and allow local people and visitors to enjoy these much-loved spaces.’
The Government also announced that the Farming in Protected Landscapes scheme, currently delivered across 10 National Parks and 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) since 2021, will also be extended until March 2025. The New Forest National Park Authority has already been given £456,000 to issue in grants between July 2021 to March 2024 which has seen miles of hedgerow planted, ponds created, orchards planted and measures to reduce flooding.
Prof Gavin Parker, New Forest National Park Authority Chair, said: ‘The New Forest National Park is a haven for wildlife in the busy south with many rare habitats and species. It also has 34,500 residents and welcomes millions of visitors each year.
‘Our core funding has halved in real terms since 2010 with much of our £3.3m Defra grant being used to provide protection of the New Forest and support of our communities and businesses, including through our planning function. So this one-off grant is vital to ensure we can continue to resource our rangers and continue projects with Forest partners to ensure people respect and care for the New Forest; help more children and young people learn about the natural world and gain green skills and jobs; and carry out vital conservation work to maintain and help recover nature.’
Andrew McCloy, Chair of National Parks England, said: ‘Today’s announcement is welcome news. At a time when our National Parks are facing a real term reduction in Government grant, this additional funding is desperately needed.
‘National Parks account for almost 10% of England’s land area and have ambitious plans to deliver on Government targets for nature, climate and public access.
‘We have been calling for the powers and resources needed to achieve this ambition. It’s vital that today’s announcement for this one-off funding is backed up by a commitment to support our National Parks in the long term.’
The New Forest National Park Authority’s draft budget and medium term financial plan can be viewed here: https://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/app/uploads/2022/08/RAPC-503-23-Draft-Budget-2023-24-Treasury-Strategy-and-Medium-Term-Financial-Plan.pdf
View the Defra funding announcement press release here: New funding for National Parks announced – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)