Minister celebrates landmark anniversariesPUBLISHED ON: 31 JULY 2019
National Parks Minister Lord Gardiner joined staff, volunteers and partners at the New Forest Show to mark the 70th anniversary of UK National Parks and Centenary of the Forestry Commission.
The joint celebration recognised that half the New Forest National Park is Crown Land, managed by the Forestry Commission, which changed its name to Forestry England in April this year.
Lord Gardiner heard how the New Forest is a world capital for wildlife and spoke with staff about the unique partnership for the Forest that has worked over the past 10 years through the Verderers of the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship scheme.
The environmental scheme, the largest in England, is a partnership between the Verderers, the New Forest National Park and Forestry England. It has invested nearly £20 million to restore wildlife habitats, support the historic practice of commoning and inspire over 14,000 children to cherish the area’s unique environment.
The Minister visited the ‘Heart of the Forest’ area at the Show and spoke with New Forest National Park Authority and Forestry England staff and visitors there about the special qualities of the New Forest. He also cut a celebration cake and saw visitors enjoying a virtual reality fly through the forest through the eyes of birds and insects, and an exhibition marking the centenary.
Defra Minister Lord Gardiner said: ‘I am delighted to attend the New Forest Show today and celebrate the 70th anniversary of UK National Parks.
‘With its unique and well-managed mix of ancient woodlands, grazing and precious heathland, the New Forest has been one of our jewels in the National Parks crown since it was designated over a decade ago. We are determined to support farmers and rural communities across the country, and I can think of no better setting to showcase Britain’s best farm produce, livestock, food and drink.’
New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: ‘At this time of celebration we mark our achievements and also renew our commitment to meet our shared ambitions of protecting the New Forest; enabling people to enjoy and understand it; of helping its communities and businesses prosper. Working together we aim to address the many pressures on our National Park and to ensure the New Forest can thrive as a living, working landscape in the modern world.
‘In the spirit of those who founded National Parks 70 years ago, it is now more important than ever to celebrate the magnificence of our precious landscapes and the importance of nature in our lives; to inspire the care, commitment and resources needed to ensure the New Forest and its communities are here for generations to come.’
New Forest Deputy Surveyor Bruce Rothnie said: ‘Over this century the recognition of the importance of the New Forest has changed significantly. It has become a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Park, and today is recognised as one of the UK’s most important habitats for many rare and endangered species of wildlife and plants.
‘At Forestry England, we are already planning and planting the Forest of the future. The trees we plant today and the improvements we make to habitats will take many years to reach maturity, and we must try to make sure that they are able to thrive whatever they face.
‘Working together with key partners such as the National Park Authority is absolutely critical to our success in achieving this goal. All of those who love the Forest have a shared responsibility and commitment to ensuring it is ready to meet the future needs of society and a changing natural world for many centuries to come.’
(left to right) Deputy Surveyor Bruce Rothnie, National Parks Minister Lord Gardiner & NFNPA Chief Executive Alison Barnes celebrating 70th anniversary of UK National Parks & Forestry England’s centenary.
Notes to editors:
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 Park – Protect.
-Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.
We also have a duty to:
Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the 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.
Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.
Hilary Makin, Communications Manager
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646608