MP learns more about initiatives safeguarding the future of the New ForestPUBLISHED ON: 7 AUGUST 2023
The Rt Hon Caroline Nokes MP met with New Forest National Park Authority staff and partners in the north of the New Forest to discuss issues facing the area and initiatives being delivered around nature, climate, people and place.
The MP for Romsey and Southampton North spoke to NPA Lead Ranger Gillie Molland at Canada Common about recreation management and sharing the right messages to everyone enjoying the Forest about caring for this unique landscape.
Caroline also learned about the latest planning developments from NPA Enforcement Manager Lucie Cooper, and policies around temporary campsites and short term visitor accommodation.
Mike Smales from Lyburn Farm at Landford talked about the range of challenges facing farmers to the north of the Forest, including the rising number of deer and their impact on crops and grassland.
Caroline heard how the NPA is partnering with the health sector and facilitating green skills and jobs, and met Hayley Quarrington, the NPA’s second New to Nature intern.
Chair of the Commoners Defence Association Andrew Parry Norton introduced Caroline to his herd of Ruby Devon cows which graze land at Franchises Lodge RSPB nature reserve at Nomansland.
The herd has been introduced to maintain a healthy woodland, keeping invasive species at bay, eliminating competition for growth on the forest floor and allowing some of the Forest’s rarest and most valuable flora to flourish as well as supporting local food production. The more natural diet leads to healthier cows, in turn producing higher quality beef.
Site Manager Richard Snelling explained how the reserve provides connectivity between the open New Forest commons, farmland and woodland – making habitats bigger, better and more joined up.
As part of its Partnership Plan, the NPA is leading a programme of work to enable the Forest to thrive.
This includes facilitating grants available to farmers and land managers as part of the Government’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.
The programme, developed by Defra, funds schemes which help the natural environment, mitigate the impacts of climate change, provide public access opportunities and support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.
With partners, the NPA has also launched its Re:New Nature Challenge, calling upon everyone to work together for nature recovery in the New Forest, which is one of the most important places for nature in England and can be considered an ark for wildlife.
Caroline Nokes said: ‘It’s been great to see what the National Park has been doing to promote nature conservation, sustainable farming and the health benefits of access to nature.
‘There are clearly real challenges around funding, and I will be certainly taking this message to Defra. The New Forest National Park is the most amazing place for nature, and we need to do all we can together for it to thrive.’