|A summary comparison of our 2017 response to the draft “Actions” proposed by NFNPA in the 2018 survey. For last year’s Future Forest survey, we sidestepped the survey format and focused on three main areas for specific, achievable projects. These were 1) National Park Infrastructure 2) Influencing Adjacent Authorities and Communities and 3) Education Emphasis on Protecting the Forest|
1. National Park Infrastructure –
- Parking and Camping Provision Assessment
- Habitat Assessment / Evidence Base
- Actions to lead to provision design Fit For Purpose
The Draft Actions contain an aspiration to create a map to be used to address infrastructure priorities, but this is given an absurd “quick-win” goal of being produced within a year of the adoption of the RMS update. Rather than specifying key criteria and gathering evidence to base a sound spatial strategy, this will be done with whatever haphazard data is to hand or may be hastily compiled within that timeframe leading to an infrastructure just as damagingly arbitrary as that which we’ve inherited.
2. Adjacent Authorities and Communities –
- Raise the profile of development on our borders that will affect the Forest
- Brief Decision makers on impacts on the Forest and Section 62 Duties
- Make nearby communities aware of their representatives responsibilities
- Promote adequate, proportional mitigation
- Petition Central Government for more strategic targets to take pressure off the Forest
The Draft Actions limit discussion of influencing adjacent authorities to their recreation provisions, where placement of population increases from new development if often the strongest driver in creating recreation pressure on the Forest. As mentioned above mitigation regimes undervalue the New Forest without scaling Thames Basin Heaths framework appropriately.
3. Education –
- Develop clearer more straightforward messages
- Look to reach other audiences
- Easily highlight the Forest’s need for protection
- National Nature Reserve
- Working Farm
- Working Forest
- In context of the ongoing Habitat Loss in the UK
Of course there is a useful “Raising awareness and understanding” action point which is front and centre, but it is focussed very much on doing more of the same, but more often in more places with better production values, not shifting the message to significantly highlight the habitats and ways of life under threat. Getting a very simple key notion across that the Forest needs our collective respect and protection could give those education efforts a more useful focus and lead to positive impact.
|This is part of our ongoing engagement in the debate on the National Park Authority’s Review of the Recreation Management Strategy. Our full response to the 2017 survey is available here. Our 2018 response is ongoing.|