MP learns more about New Forest conservation effortsPUBLISHED ON: 30 SEPTEMBER 2021
MP Caroline Nokes met people from the New Forest National Park Authority on a visit to find out more about the issues facing the New Forest, and initiatives in place to protect this special area.
The MP for Romsey and Southampton North spoke to NPA rangers Hayden Bridgeman and Claire Sherwood at Canada Common in the north of the National Park. The rangers were staffing the New Forest Explorer – a mobile unit which travels to car parks and events, sharing information on the Forest’s rare habitats and landscape and how we can all care for them.
Caroline also met Alison Barnes, CEO of the New Forest National Park Authority and Chair Prof. Gavin Parker, as well as Ellie Banks – one of two Assistant Trainee Rangers who have joined the National Park as part of the Government’s Kickstart scheme.
The group walked to nearby Half Moon Common, where Caroline met Olivia McGregor, the NPA’s Net Zero with Nature Programme Manager, to learn about nature-based solutions to tackle the climate and nature emergencies in the New Forest.
Julie Melin-Stubbs, the NPA’s Wildlife and Conservation Team Manager also spoke with Caroline about how the Authority is 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 or support nature-friendly, sustainable farm businesses.
Caroline then visited Franchises Lodge nature reserve at Nomansland where she met RSPB Conservation Officer Nick Tomalin and the NPA’s Director of Strategy and Planning, Steve Avery.
Caroline said: ‘The visit was a fantastic opportunity to talk about the potential for nature conservation in the New Forest. It was also great to meet the NPA rangers. They have such a great enthusiasm for sharing the right messages to visitors and residents about caring for this unique landscape.’
Prof. Gavin Parker said: ‘It was great to have the time with Caroline and talk about the New Forest at a critical time for nature, climate and people as we recover from the pandemic. These are reflected in the recent Future Forest consultation on our Partnership Plan, which focuses on the five themes of: nature recovery; net zero with nature; a thriving Forest; an inclusive National Park, and Team New Forest.
‘During Caroline’s visit, we showcased some of the great work and important issues being tackled by the National Park Authority, and explained how much more can still be done.’