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Green Halo conference explores challenges and opportunities for nature recovery in the New Forest

Green Halo conference explores challenges and opportunities for nature recovery in the New Forest


The fifth anniversary of the Green Halo Partnership was marked with a virtual conference: Towards 2030, which explored how individuals and organisations working in and around the New Forest National Park can tackle the climate and nature emergencies. 

More than 130 people joined the online conference to consider how we can deliver on nature recovery and ‘net zero’ and support people’s health and prosperity at the same time in the context of the pandemic. Net zero is achieved when harmful greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity are balanced by an equivalent amount being absorbed by the natural environment. 

Inspirational guests at the conference included keynote speaker Sir Dieter Helm, Professor of Economic Policy at the University of Oxford who chaired the Government’s Natural Capital Committee. 

Sir Dieter reflected on challenges and opportunities for our area over the next decade – meeting the net zero targets and restoring and enhancing natural capital. He said: ‘We are lucky enough to have so many great resources in the New Forest area – including trees, wetlands, peat and the marine area that can help soak up carbon, and to restore and enhance wildlife. It’s now up to us to use these resources in the best way possible to help us meet our net zero targets and the needs of local people.’ 

Sir Dieter was joined by local voices reflecting how current opportunities can meet the challenge including: 

  • AldredDrummond, Chief Executive of the Fawley Waterside project.
  • John Durnell, Director of Estates and Conservation Delivery, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, on nature recovery.
  • Anne-Marie Mountifield, Chief Exec of the Solent LEP, on the economy.
  • Layne Hamerston, Bournemouth University Community Partnerships Manager and co-founder of The Nature Health Network, on health and wellbeing.
  • PhD student Joseph Owen on sustainable living for the next generation.

Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority and Convener of the Green Halo Partnership said: ‘Since our Partnership began, the environment has rocketed up the political agenda. And, more importantly, in the past 18 months, ordinary people have become much more aware of nature and what it offers.  

‘As it becomes ever more important that we take urgent action on the issues of our time to reduce carbon, reverse the decline in wildlife, support health and wellbeing and tackle air pollution, so we need to ensure we use opportunities in nature to make genuine improvements to the New Forest area.’ 

You can listen to the conference recording at, with speakers at the following times:

Alison Barnes; 1:18
Aldred Drummond;12:30
Sir Dieter Helm; 31:30
Layne Hamerston; 1:20:25
John Durnell; 1:29:13
Anne-Marie Mountifield; 1:45:17
Joseph Owen; 2:02:30


Notes to editors: 

About the Green Halo Partnership 

The Partnership brings together businesses, universities, charities and communities to ensure our world class environment in and around the New Forest National Park flourishes as an integral part of our wider area’s thriving economy and society. 

The New Forest is one of Europe’s best sanctuaries for nature, situated in the busy south east of England and surrounded by Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Salisbury. Beyond the National Park’s boundaries, from Cranborne Chase to Purbeck, the South Downs to the Solent, much of this part of southern England is internationally valued because of the quality of the natural environment. 

Our Partnership wants to ensure that the natural environment is seen as an integral part of how we work and live. 

Our ambition is not constrained by administrative boundaries, opportunities can come from all areas and all sectors in and around the National Park – hence the Green Halo. 

By recognising the contribution our natural environment makes to the local economy and society and bringing together a series of actions and projects, our Partnership wants to ensure that both the National Park and its surroundings work to protect and improve that environment. 

Our vision is to be a global exemplar of how our most precious landscapes can work in harmony with a thriving, economically successful community. 

For details see


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 National Park – 
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – 

We also have a duty to: 

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the National 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. 

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