NPA leads call to address climate and nature emergenciesPUBLISHED ON: 23 JANUARY 2020
The New Forest National Park Authority has agreed a new plan of action in response to the climate and nature emergencies.
Since its creation in 2005, the New Forest NPA has recognised the importance of adapting to climate change and preventing or reducing its effects.
As part of a renewed focus to tackle the climate crisis, the NPA’s plan looks at three strands:
- help the New Forest to adapt to the climate and nature emergency through restoring, creating and managing habitats and making wildlife areas more resilient (adaptation)
- reduce its own carbon footprint (migitation)
- encourage behaviour change among its communities and visitors (education).
At today’s board meeting, NPA members made a declaration of intent to champion action with partners and communities towards the National Park being ‘net zero with nature’ by 2050. Net zero is achieved when any harmful greenhouse gas emissions are balanced by an equivalent amount being absorbed by the atmosphere and landscape.
The New Forest National Park is internationally important for nature. It has a mosaic of habitats including woodlands, heaths, mires and saltmarshes which support a variety of wildlife as well as absorbing carbon. The NPA’s plan focuses on protecting these habitats with the right land management and keeping them in good condition so they continue to function well in these roles. The plan also promotes bigger, better, more joined-up habitats and spaces for wildlife – which will make them more resilient to climate change.
Climate change has been recognised internationally, with UK Parliament declaring a climate emergency in May 2019. However, with the recent State of Nature Report saying that 41% of UK native species have been in decline since 1970, the New Forest NPA is also tackling a nature emergency.
The New Forest could suffer hugely from impacts of further climate change. Its wildlife and nature are under threat from rising temperatures, wildfires, pests, diseases, dryer soils and more powerful and frequent storms.
Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest NPA said that organisations in the Forest had been working hard on addressing climate change for a number of years. One of the initiatives includes the Sustainable Communities Fund which has allocated about £1.2m to 116 projects which have helped to reduce the carbon footprint of the National Park and improve nature.
However, he said a new impetus to fight the twin crises of climate and nature emergency was needed.
He said: ‘For many years, national park authorities have recognised that climate change is the most serious long-term threat facing the special qualities of their areas.
‘In the New Forest, we’ve already taken a wide range of initiatives forward including promoting sustainable land management, investing in greener transport, and supporting community groups and businesses to make changes.
‘As we enter a new decade, we’re reaffirming our commitment to climate action and calling on our partners to work with us to address the crises for climate and nature to become a National Park that’s Net Zero with Nature’.
To see the New Forest National Park Authority’s net zero with nature plan, go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/netzero
For more information on the climate and nature emergencies and the New Forest National Park, go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/climatecrisis
Notes to editors
The advice given through the New Forest Land Advice Service, and the projects it runs such as Better Boundaries and Working Woodlands, improve the environmental condition of farmland, hedgerows and existing woodlands as well as creating new habitat. Not only is this good for wildlife but it also helps to improve soil condition, carbon storage and resilience to climate change. Large-scale expansion of these projects would increase the resilience of the National Park to climate change by creating habitats and improving connectivity of habitats across the national park and surrounding area.
We were one of the first National Park Authorities to install electric vehicle charging points and provide an electric pool car. We recycle items that aren’t widely collected, compost food waste, procure energy efficient goods, and support local food. We also raise staff awareness and promote sustainability through cycle to work week, swap shops, talks and campaigns
Engagement with our communities has been crucial in our work to tackle climate and nature recovery issues. Our Sustainable Communities Fund Projects 2006 -2019 include the following:
|Project Type||Number of projects|
|Feasibility, research & energy audits||23|
|Green building/renovations – insulation, LED lighting, solar, biomass, heat pumps||28|
|Supporting local food/produce||17|
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.
Maria Court, Communications Officer
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650