Local people are being asked to put forward their views on how they see the future of the New Forest National Park.
New Forest partners have drawn up a draft Partnership Plan to 2026, to secure the future of the New Forest and champion the recovery of the climate, nature and ourselves.
The lead organisations are New Forest National Park Authority; Hampshire County Council; Forestry England; New Forest District Council; the Verderers of the New Forest; Test Valley Borough Council; Wiltshire Council; Natural England and the Environment Agency. More than 50 other organisations are also involved in taking action for the Forest.
New Forest National Park Authority chairman Gavin Parker said: “This special New Forest landscape faces significant challenges from the climate and nature emergencies; changes to land management and farming subsidies; pressures from new development around our boundaries; recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and managing recreational impacts.
“It is vital that organisations, businesses, residents and visitors come together to pool our resources and energy so there is a real step-change in our approach, increasing opportunities to deliver a greener future for all. We need to hear from as many people as possible – particularly the younger generation – about how we can make a better future for our landscape and ourselves.”
The focus of the draft plan is on achieving outcomes in five key areas, which were created with the help of a ‘snapshot survey’ earlier this year where over 2,700 people gave their views about the pandemic, nature, sustainable living, health and wellbeing:
The draft plan builds on initiatives already under way ranging from restoring wetlands; to developing a ‘Natural Health Service’ where people are prescribed nature-based therapies; to creating more green skills and jobs; and new opportunities for mass volunteering.
Cllr Edward Heron, New Forest District Council leader, said: “This plan shows the commitment in the area to working together on shared aims. Our priorities at NFDC are focussed on the economic prosperity of the district very much alongside our drive to care for the environment and the Forest’s unique heritage. Getting the balance right is so important for the area and I am happy that we are continuing to work together in a coherent way which will ultimately ensure the area continues to thrive in a sustainable way.”
Read the draft Partnership Plan and take part in the online survey at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/yourfuturenewforest.
The consultation ends at midnight on 3 September.
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