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.