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Personalised NFA Christmas Cards

The Christmas Cards shown are available personalised with your address. Cards come in packs of 10 with envelopes at £3.00 delivered; the minimum quantity for personalized cards is 40. The cards measure six inches by four. The photographs are by the late Terry Heathcote and depict the following New Forest Scenes – Binken Wood near Lyndhurst, Foulford Bottom in the north of the Forest and Commoner’s Cattle probably near Brockenhurst.

The detail inside of the card is as follows –

Best Wishes for
Christmas & the New Year

If you would like to order please Email details, including your address as you wish it shown, to brookleyfarmhouse@btinternet.com. Or phone Graham Baker on 01590 623935. Samples are available and all proceeds go to NFA funds.

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National Park Management Plan Revised Draft

The National Park Management Plan Revised Draft is available for public feedback from 22 October to 12 November 2009. A downloadable version of the Plan as well as details on how to respond are available via this link:

National Park Management Plan Revised Draft

The current draft will be considered by the members of the New Forest National Park Authority at the authority meeting on the 29th of October 2009, at South Efford House. The members will be asked to approve the revised version of the draft at the subsequent authority meeting on the 10th of December 2009.

The revised Core Strategy will be available on the National Park website from 3 December 2009 and public representations will be invited in January 2010.

New Forest Association Takes Forestry Commission to Task

In today’s September Verderers Court, the NFA took the Forestry Commission to task for ongoing damage to the fabric of the forest and dangerously unsafe debris resulting from timber extraction operations at Islands Thorns enclosure. The NFA called for more sensitive management of the operations, particularly as a very nice job has been done by a different team nearby in the stream restoration at Howen Bottom (more info on stream restoration : Lengthening River Beds) Timber operations in character woodlands on the open forest on the SSSI should be managed to the same standards as other environmental works.

The NFA also asked for further scrutiny of the Forestry Commission’s trial of a new basalt grit based hoggin material as a car park surface at Longslade Bottom, Pig Bush, Turf Hill amongst others. This is part of an ongoing search for more sustainable materials for car park maintenance. Difficulties arise in the current gravel based hoggin which is easily disrupted, but any new material needs to pass muster with Natural England as it can leech into the sensitive soil of the forest and may also impact the wetlands. The NFA are concerned that the basalt may not be as inert as suggested by the Forestry Commission, also the basalt is a darker colour closer to that of tarmac and may negatively impact on the landscape. (see Gritty solution to potholes)

The NFA also commented on the Forestry Commission’s somewhat cynical “consultation” on its plans for the future of the Public Forest Estate in England. The plans include a National plan for fast conifer timber production which would be wholly inappropriate for the New Forest. The Forestry Commission are clearly looking for a mandate nationally, such policies would not work for the New Forest, and would create further unwelcome pressure to our local forestry. The NFA urged the Verderers and all members of the public to respond to the survey with this in mind.

Finally, the NFA joined the New Forest Commoners Defence Association, amongst others, in commenting on the proposed extension to Burley Cricket Club’s pavilion. The NFA asked the Verderers to ensure that any extension to existing facilities should be the minimum size needed to maintain the viability of the cricket club and no larger.

(For the full text of this month’s Presentment look at the first comment below, or click here).

Charity Event to Benefit NFA, Sunday 13th September

The New Forest Association is pleased to learn that Sally Bennetts has organised Live Music Charity Event at The Elm Tree Public House on Sunday 13th September from midday to 10pm in aid of three charities: Macmillan Nurses, Delta and the New Forest Association.

Tickets are £7.00 – kids go free, contact Sally Bennetts.

Forestry Commission Launch Public Forest Estate Consultation

The Forestry Commission of England have launched a consultation on “The Long-term Role of the Forestry Commission Public Forest Estate in England“. This “consultation” takes the form of a 76 page document followed by a survey, much of which includes somewhat loaded questions, and even more slanted multiple choice selections.

In a slightly cynical move, a shorter version of the survey has been issued as a leaflet consisting of one of the questions with multiple choice answers. This can be filled in and sent freepost to the Forestry Commission. Those responding to this oversimplified version are being entered into a prize draw as an incentive.

Whilst the council of The New Forest Association are issuing a joint response to the consultation, they urge the members of the Association to respond to the consultation, keeping in mind that for the New Forest area, the preservation of the nature and heritage of the native broadleaved woodlands and heathland habitats should have greater priority over conifer timber production.

The consultation closes on 28th September 2009.

New Forest National Park Chief Executive To Step Down

At the June meeting of the New Forest National Park Authority, Lindsay Cornish the Chief Executive Officer of the NFNPA has announced her resignation.

In her statement she remarked:

“Over the last four years I have dedicated myself to the development of an organisation which I hope will continue to champion the New Forest long after I have gone.”

Clive Chatters, Chairman of the NFNPA followed up with praise for Lindsay’s achievements including setting up the Authority as “a stable, well run organisation” and her help in securing the Single Farm Payment for the whole of the Forest on behalf of the commoners, as well as getting the planning service up and running for “day one” of the authority.

The NFA are saddened by the nature of her departure, and feel it is particularly unfortunate that her achievements should be overshadowed by recent events.

[Read the full text of the Chief Executive’s Statement here and the Chairman’s Statement here]

Statement by Lindsay Cornish Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority

After deep reflection and discussion with the Chairman it is with considerable sadness that I have decided to leave the Authority.

Over the last four years I have dedicated myself to the development of an organisation which I hope will continue to champion the New Forest long after I have gone. My staff are passionate about the New Forest and its future, dedicated and highly professional and have already achieved much, for example in support the work and role of commoners and in securing significant amounts of external funding to assist local community projects.

As those who are close to me know, it has always been my intention to pass the baton on to a fresh pair of hands once the Authority is fully established. I had hoped that this would coincide with the completion of the first national park management plan, originally scheduled for earlier this year. Now that the Plan has been further delayed, and I would shortly have completed four years in post I have reviewed my position. I also believe that the recent perception of me and my role by some sections of the public, ill-informed and libellous as some of it is, may be damaging the reputation of the entire Authority.

For these, and other personal reasons, I will therefore be leaving the Authority at the end of the month.

I would like to give particular thanks to : the two Chairmen I have worked with and who have given me invaluable support and encouragement; to my staff for the excellent work they do; and to a number of colleagues from key Forest organisations who have been willing to work constructively with the Authority, and to support me personally, notwithstanding our sometimes fundamentally different starting points, to achieve what is best for the Forest.

I will not be making any other statements and would ask for privacy while I remain in post and thereafter.

Statement by Clive Chatters, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority

Members, setting up a new National Park Authority is a challenge. This is the first time it has been done for over fifty years.

Over the last four years Lindsay has taken us through that process to establish a stable, well run organisation. Throughout her time with us Lindsay has shown great commitment and dedication to the New Forest, the National Park and the Authority.

Not only has the establishment of the organisation been a significant achievement in its own right but there is much by way of other successes to celebrate and I have selected two items to comment on.

For many years many organisations have sought to provide support for the Forest’s commoning economy. This has proved very difficult as our circumstances here do not comfortably fit into the national picture. Lindsay’s knowledge of how Defra works was fundamental in securing the Single Farm Payment for the whole of the open Forest to the considerable financial benefit of all practising Commoners.

Similarly the establishment of the planning service for the national park was a hugely complex process fraught with risk. If the service was not ready to run on ‘day one’ we could not have continued to provide a timely and proper service to local people seeking planning permission. As one member commented at the time, the achievement was nothing short of miraculous.

Members, I have known for some time about Lindsay’s views on the need to hand over to a successor at the right time and I understand and respect her reasoning on this. It saddens me that some parties have more recently chosen to make personal and offensive comments about her. Such nasty behaviour falls outside what I regard as common decency; I will deal with that matter separately.

I am sure that all members will join me in thanking Lindsay for her singular contribution to the creation and achievements of the National Park Authority and in wishing Lindsay well for the future

Verderers Reject Mobile Shop Proposal

After one of the longest Verderers Courts of recent times (nearly an hour), consisting of many Presentments against the Forest Holidays Mobile Shop proposal, including the NFA’s, and only two Forest Marque producers lobbying for the proposal, the Verderers have turned Forest Holidays down. The Verderers have issued this press release:

FOREST HOLIDAYS RETAIL VAN

In view of their existing policies on camping and recreational facilities, the Verderers have today decided that they are regrettably unable to give their agreement to the provision of a mobile shop at three of the Forestry Commission’s campsites in the New Forest.

The decision has been taken in response to an earlier request for the Verderers’ agreement under the provisions of Section 1(2) of the New Forest Act of 1970.

Written reasons for the decision will be given in a letter to the Deputy Surveyor, Mr Michael Seddon, a copy of which will be available on the Verderers’ website.

The Official Verderer said “This has not been an easy decision to make because we do sympathise with the Forestry Commission’s wish to make these campsites viable, but our policy is very clear on these sorts of matters and we sadly cannot support further urbanisation of the Open Forest”.

In a more detailed response to the Deputy Surveyor, the Official Verderer gave more detailed reasons for the rejection including “a mobile shop will further impinge on the peace and tranquillity that is offered by the open Forest; [and would] encourage the ongoing interference with the exercise of common rights on the Open forest”.

[To read the full Letter to the Deputy Surveyor, click here (document maintained by the Verderers http://www.verderers.org.uk/)]

New Forest Association Further Slams Forest Holidays Disregard for Forest Law

At the June Verderers court the NFA once again attacked Forest Holidays for their blatant disregard for the New Forest Acts. The New Forest Acts require application to the Verderers for any new facility, equipment or accommodation. Forest Holidays have expressed a mistaken notion that they did not require the Verderers consent for the proposed mobile shops, asking only for “agreement and support”. Forest Holidays have already begun to offer pre-erected tents and pre-pitched caravans for which they have not even bothered to ask permission of the Verderers.

In their presentment, the NFA contended that this is a very serious breach of both the spirit and the letter of the law:

“We would urge the Verderers to use every means at their disposal to ensure that they [the New Forest Acts] are adhered to. We ask the Verderers to reject the mobile shop, and to ask Forest Holidays to immediately cease and desist providing the pre-pitched tents and caravans on any New Forest Campsite.

Forest Holidays and the Forestry Commission should not be permitted to ignore the guidance of the Verderers or their protective duties to the Forest under the New Forest Acts.”

The Verderers will announce their response to the Mobile Shop proposal after their post court meeting. The NFA will continue to press the issue of the pre-pitched tents and caravans.

[To read a full text of the NFA June presentment , see the first comment below, or click here.]