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Over 1,000 respond to Future Forest consultation

Over 1,000 respond to Future Forest consultation

PUBLISHED ON: 19 SEPTEMBER 2018

Over 1,000 individuals and organisations gave their views on how recreation should be managed in and around the New Forest National Park, with nearly 80% agreeing with the proposed actions.

The Forestry Commission, Natural England, Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and the Verderers asked the National Park Authority to conduct the Future Forest consultation on behalf of the statutory bodies.

The aim of the Future Forest consultation is to help decide how we should:

  • protect the spectacular, yet fragile, wildlife-rich landscape that people come to see
  • manage recreation for local people and visitors
  • use limited resources wisely.

The online survey over eight weeks this summer asked people their views on 25 draft proposed actions. Most of the actions received a very high level of support (on average 78% of people agreed or strongly agreed with them).

The actions were based on feedback received last year and ranged from developing an agreed New Forest-wide network of key visitor sites and core walking and cycling routes; to measures to protect against specific activities that have impact on the Forest; and increasing the range of initiatives designed to help people understand why the Forest is so special.

Of 1,073 respondents including 39 organisations, nearly 700 provided additional comments. One of the aims of the survey was to hear the views of a wide range of local people and visitors, including people who don’t normally get involved in public consultations and nearly 60 per cent said they had never taken part in a New Forest consultation before.

Bruce Rothnie, Deputy Surveyor at the Forestry Commission, said: ‘The knowledge and views gathered from this consultation will help us to make the right choices for the future benefit of the New Forest.

‘We all will need to take responsibility, share solutions and celebrate passing on to our descendants a Forest in better condition and more resilient to future changes.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘We’re grateful to everyone who took the time to give us their thoughts on how we can best manage recreation in and around the Forest. Other organisations tell us that they often receive only a few hundred responses to consultations so we’re really pleased with the level of response.

‘The fact that such a large majority of people support the actions means that were on the right track and shows how much people care for the New Forest.

‘We are now going through the comments and we hope to come up with specific plans early next year showing how the actions will be carried out.’

Keep up to date at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/futureforest.

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