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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

National Park tells Forestry Panel New Forest should be managed as one unit

The New Forest National Park Authority is calling on the Independent Panel on Forestry to keep the New Forest as a single entity when it considers the area’s future in its review of English forestry.

The NPA’s official response to the Panel’s ‘call for views’ says the New Forest’s Crown lands should continue to be managed ‘in an integrated way as a single unit, drawing on the expertise and significant knowledge that already exists in the Forestry Commission locally’ to look after it effectively.

The Independent Panel was set up to advise Government on the future of England’s forests and woods by April 2012.  It has a wide-ranging remit including advising on the future direction of forest and woodland policy.

In its response, the Authority said the future management of the Crown Lands is critical to the integrity of the National Park and should be focused on maintaining and enhancing the special qualities of the area.

The National Park Authority also said that any future organisation responsible for the Crown Estate would have to bring together a wide range of groups with interests in the Forest and that ‘public accountability should be maintained or improved’.

‘This would require an organisation of sufficient size and with a clear remit, able to resolve often competing interests,’ the report said.

It needs ‘a strong culture of stakeholder consultation and involvement and the ability to bring together and work closely with a range of different local interests’, the report continued.

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson said: ‘We have told the Panel that the New Forest warrants special consideration. Our Members were very clear that effective management of the area will require planning and delivery over a number of years, and therefore a long-term funding commitment.  As a recognised national asset of outstanding public importance,  the National Park Authority considers that a publicly managed New Forest remains the most practical and accountable option.

‘The national and international significance of the area, the complexity of its history and present management, the extent of open public access, the critical role of commoning and the sheer scale of its natural habitats all make the New Forest unique amongst England’s forests.’

Recommended Reading: The New Forest National Park: Leisure Walks for All Ages

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