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Coronavirus updates

Coronavirus updates

PUBLISHED ON: 7 MAY 2020

12 May

Statement from New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre following the Government’s new guidance issued on 11 May:

We are asking people to respect and care for the New Forest and its communities at this critical time.

Our priority is to keep people and the Forest safe and so we are working with partners to lift the restrictions carefully and in a measured way. As the Prime Minister has said, the new rules are only going to work if everyone acts responsibly and uses common sense. In a National Park context that means that when out in the Forest everyone must continue to respect and observe the social distancing rules.

Our partners are opening a number of their car parks and this will be kept under review (see Forestry England and New Forest District Council’s websites). But, in line with Government restrictions, our local attractions, pubs, campsites, restaurants and hotels remain closed, along with public toilets. It is also important that visitors remember that the hospitality and leisure businesses are not likely to open before July and will not be able to welcome them until then.

The Forest is also on an amber fire warning due to the recent dry weather so no barbecues are allowed and we ask that, as always, people respect the vulnerable areas that are closed to protect ground nesting birds, stick to the designated routes when cycling, keep their distance from New Forest animals and follow the countryside code.

7 May

Stay home this bank holiday weekend

Residents and visitors are urged to stay at home and avoid visiting the New Forest this bank holiday weekend, in a continuing effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Cllr Barry Rickman, Leader of New Forest District Council said: ‘This VE day bank holiday weekend, please stay home and continue to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. It is as important as ever to follow the current government guidance to stay home and save lives. Only travel if it’s essential, and if you are leaving your home for exercise once a day, please stay local, use open spaces near to your home and keep a safe two metre distance from other people.


‘We are carefully watching for announcements from Government as they plan for easing restrictions. Any changes to our services will be only after we have carefully considered the safety of our customers and staff. We’ll update you with any changes, but for now, I urge you to enjoy the weekend safely.’

Simon Bryant, Director of Public Health for Hampshire County Council, and spokesperson for the Hampshire and Isle Of Wight Local Resilience Forum, said: ‘The overwhelming majority of local residents continue to observe the stay at home message, but as time goes by we are seeing a small, but increasing number, travelling unnecessarily and going out when they don’t need to.

‘We know this is hard, and that people are fed up and yearn to go out to spend time with friends and loves ones, but with people still becoming seriously ill and dying from the virus, and with no effective treatment available yet, now is not the time to push the boundaries.

‘This bank holiday weekend, please celebrate VE Day at home with your immediate household, and virtually with friends and family – if we all keep going, we can get back to what, or who, we love sooner.’

Visitor facilities including public toilets, BBQ areas, car parks, and campsites are closed to meet the Government’s restrictions to reduce non-essential travel.

The New Forest National Park Authority said: ‘Thank you to everyone who has supported the New Forest and its communities by not visiting the National Park over the past weeks. Please continue to support us and the efforts of our key workers to protect lives by staying home this VE Day bank holiday.’

Despite COVID-19 travel restrictions the New Forest continues to experience significant pressures. Forestry England has reported that over the last four weeks its staff have responded to a wide range of serious incidents across the Forest including fires, vehicles off-roading, large fly-tips, medical emergencies involving cyclists and horse-riders, and wild camping. They have also spoken to hundreds of people asking them not to damage the Forest by parking on verges or by blocking emergency access gates. Forestry England’s team continues to work in the Forest, carrying out essential work and helping to protect the Forest’s fragile landscape in increasingly challenging circumstances. Ahead of the bank holiday, they have asked the public to help by staying at home and observing social distancing.

Government guidance asks that we stay at home to save lives. This means:
• Only going outside for food or health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
• If you go out, staying two metres (six feet) away from other people at all times
• Washing your hands as soon as you get home
• Not meeting others, even family or friends.

See the latest information from Government at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

For updates on New Forest District Council services see www.newforest.gov.uk/coronavirus.

 

18 April

Forest car parks and visitor facilities remain closed

Thanks to all those who are staying home this weekend.

Government restrictions are to stay local when exercising and use open spaces near your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily. This will help stop the spread of Coronavirus and save lives. Forest car parks and visitor facilities remain closed until we can safely explore the National Park again.

 

8 April

Joint press release with New Forest District Council: 

Stay away, stay safe, see you later

As the Easter weekend approaches, visitors and second homeowners are being asked to stay away from the New Forest and follow government rules to stay home and stay safe.

New Forest District Council Leader and National Park Authority member, Cllr Barry Rickman, said: ‘The Government’s priority is to save lives. The best way for everyone to protect themselves and others from illness is to stay at home and so we are reminding all visitors and second home-owners to please not visit the New Forest.

‘It is vital that you play your part in limiting the spread of the Coronavirus and helping to save lives.  And if you are leaving your home for exercise once a day, please stay local and use open spaces near to your home.

‘We will love to welcome you back again later in the year. For now, stay home, stay safe.’

Visitor facilities including public toilets, BBQ areas, car parks, and campsites are closed to meet the Government’s restrictions to reduce non-essential travel.

Hampshire Police has said it will continue to be out this weekend to ensure social distancing and that everyone is staying safe, and officers will continue to engage with the public to ensure Government guidelines are adhered to.

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘It is very important for us all to continue to observe the Government’s restrictions to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. We must stay at home at this critical time, and avoid any temptation to travel to the New Forest, unless it’s an essential journey.’

Go New Forest is also supporting the Stay Home for now message: ‘We would normally love to see all our regular visitors, but we really need you to support Government advice to stay at home and stay safe. We all have a responsibility – visitors, visitor businesses and local residents – to heed government advice and help save lives. If you have a holiday booked in the coming weeks, please contact the provider directly. If you’re postponing a visit, we look forward to welcoming you in happier times.’

See the latest information from government at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

31 March

Planning service update

We’re continuing to process planning applications which have already been submitted and if you are submitting a new application, please do so electronically through the Planning Portal website: www.planningportal.co.uk.

We will not be able to deal with planning applications that are received by post as our reception is now closed. We are continuing to progress pre-application enquiries but can only accept payment by credit card or online payment. We are currently able to take card payments between 10am – 12pm each day by phone (quoting the relevant case number) to 01590 646674. Please do not send cheques as we are unable to process them.

With regard to any non-payment related matters, our main switchboard number will continue to have an automated message and voicemails won’t be picked up, so please email instead. Please send all general planning enquiries to dev.control@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

27 March

People warned not to travel to the New Forest

The New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire Police and partners are warning people not to travel to the New Forest for exercise this weekend.

The Government has told everyone to stay at home to protect our NHS and save lives. Only essential travel is allowed and we should exercise direct from our own homes.

Police are patrolling the Forest and coastline, checking why people are in car parks and advising them to go home if their travel is not essential.

This is especially important this weekend, as due to the recent warm weather, the whole area is now under an amber warning because of the risk of wild fires.

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘All visitor facilities, toilets, cafes, campsites and main car parks are closed.

‘It is vital for everyone’s safety and to protect our NHS at this critical time that we stay at home. Travelling to or within the National Park in order to take exercise is not essential travel and adds unnecessary pressure on limited local services and emergency personnel, putting themselves and our communities at risk.

‘Everyone acting now by following the Government’s restrictions will make a crucial difference in the weeks ahead.’

For everyone missing the New Forest, please follow @newforestnpa on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for regular updates and to enjoy views from around the National Park until the restrictions are lifted.

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Stay at home
Stay at home

 

24 March

Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, no one should be travelling to the New Forest National Park.

Government guidance is:

  • Only go outside for food, medical reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home)
  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.

We are allowed one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.  We should do this from our homes in the best way we can.

The Government has stipulated that: ‘Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.’

Visitor facilities, main car parks, toilets, camping, country parks and attractions are all now closed. Wild camping is illegal in the New Forest.

We look forward to welcoming you back to the New Forest when this crisis is over.

In the meantime please keep in touch with us through regular updates on our website and on our social media channels.

Our services
In line with Government advice and to keep our staff and customers safe, our reception is now closed and all events and meetings are cancelled or postponed until further notice. However we can still be contacted via email enquiries@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

We continue to process planning applications which have already been submitted and if you are submitting a new application, please do so electronically through the Planning Portal website. We will not be able to deal with planning applications that are received by post. We are continuing to progress pre-application enquiries but can only accept payment by credit card or online payment. For all general planning enquiries please email dev.control@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

For the latest government guidance concerning planning appeals, please visit www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-planning-inspectorate-guidance.

We will keep this page updated. You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @newforestnpa.

2pm, 23 March 

Essential travel guidance from Government:

‘Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.’

www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-essential-travel-guidance

Moors Valley update:

‘Moors Valley is now fully closed to all visitors until further notice.’

www.moors-valley.co.uk

Lepe Country Park update:

‘Please DO NOT DRIVE to Lepe as there is NO PARKING on site and all facilities at the park are now CLOSED (including the play areas, toilets etc). The open spaces at the park are accessible for LOCAL visitors to walk round if they are following the latest government guidance on social distancing.

www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/lepe

1pm, 23 March

For updates on New Forest District Council services including community information, waste, support to businesses, housing, planning, benefits, and council tax, please see www.newforest.gov.uk/coronavirus.

12pm, 23 March

Statement from Forestry England: Access to the New Forest

This weekend, right across the country we have seen large numbers of people visiting public outdoor spaces, and it has not always being able to achieve social distancing. Covid-19 means that this is a threat to people’s health.

Our priority is to keep the public and our staff safe and as a result we are in the process of closing all main car parks in the New Forest from today. The car parks affected are those at Bolderwood, Wilverley, Blackwater, Whitefield Moor, Anderwood, Hatchet Pond and New Forest Reptile Centre.  All of our public facilities within the New Forest are already closed including public toilets, visitor cabins, and BBQ facilities. Campsites are also closed and we would like to remind people that wild camping is illegal anywhere on the New Forest or in its car parks.

Smaller car parks in the Forest remain open for now. We have taken the decision not to close these for several reasons. We are concerned that closures would lead to large amounts of parking on verges and open ground causing real and irreversible damage to the landscape. Parking at locations away from the network of tracks would also lead to large numbers of people walking across the open forest putting wildlife at huge risk, particularly as it’s the start of the ground nesting bird season in these areas.

We will keep the situation under constant review and may close all car parks with immediate effect if the government’s guidelines on social distancing are not being adhered to or if the advice from Public Health England changes. Local people still have access to the countryside but we ask everyone to ensure they follow government guidance on avoiding all non-essential travel and social distancing to help restrict the spread of coronavirus.

22 March

We ask people to please follow Government guidance around social distancing and non essential travel.

All Camping in the Forest campsites are now closed.

Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

17 March

In line with Government advice, our reception is now closed and all events and meetings are cancelled or postponed.

However we can be contacted via email and phone.

We are aiming to process planning applications which have already been submitted and if you are submitting a new application, we are reviewing the services we will be able to deliver.

General enquiries: enquiries@newforestnpa.gov.uk Tel: 01590 646600

Planning enquiries: dev.control@newforestnpa.gov.uk

We will keep this page updated.

You can also join us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram @newforestnpa.

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