With the New Forest expecting an increase in visitors this year, a number of organisations have joined together to call on people to ‘care for the Forest, care for each other’. Measures include banning barbecues.
New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry England, New Forest District Council and Go New Forest – with support from The Verderers, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, and Hampshire Constabulary – have produced a joint action plan which aims to ensure the New Forest can play a positive and active role in helping people recover from lockdown in the great outdoors while also caring for this special place.
Last year the New Forest, like the Dorset beaches, experienced anti-social behaviour and organisations worked to address the issues.
Teams were pooled to increase the impact of patrols, over 50 local retailers agreed to ban disposable BBQs, and over 400 New Forest Ambassadors were recruited with parish councils to help support the Forest. Joint patrols and putting hundreds of warning stickers on vehicles were used to discourage verge parking and gateway blocking, and joint communications about caring for the Forest reached over six million people.
Key aspects of the action plan are: Increased patrols and focus on visitor hotspots; the rolling out of a joint visitor campaign; The New Forest Code which can be accessed at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/news/new-forest-code/; increased and more prominent signage and making the New Forest Crown Lands a complete no BBQ and fire zone.
A task force of organisations will meet weekly to review the joint action plan and the response to any issues.
Local communities and businesses are being encouraged to get involved with the campaign by publicising the New Forest Code, becoming New Forest Ambassadors and reporting problems and issues. More information can be found on all these aspects at http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/nfambassadors
Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, Prof Gavin Parker said, “Last year we saw some truly shocking impacts on countryside sites including the massive fire nearby in Wareham Forest caused by barbecues. We also saw an increase in litter, which can harm the grazing animals which are so vital in shaping the landscape and maintaining rare Forest habitats.”
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