|This month’s announcements include the management and importance of brambles, controlling dogs in bird nesting season, pleas to not feed livestock, marking fees, and the appointments of the Forestry England and Natural England Verderers.|
Newly Appointed Verderers – Mark Gammon & Clive Chatters
We are very pleased to welcome Mr Mark Gammon and Mr Clive Chatters to our Court today.
As announced by the Deputy Surveyor in July, Mr Gammon has been appointed by Forestry England as its representative on the Court. Today is, however, Mr Gammon’s first time in attendance. Mark is a retired senior Crown prosecutor who specialised in wildlife crime and animal cruelty offences. Previously he was a solicitor in private practice and he has a good understanding of enforcement. Mark has lived in the Forest for many years and he has a good working knowledge of local wildlife and conservation.
Mr Clive Chatters is Natural England’s newly appointed Verderer. Mr Chatters brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience of conservation issues in the New Forest and beyond. He has a considerable understanding of the pressures arising from the need to balance the interests of agriculture, conservation, and recreation in the Forest.
We are confident both will prove to be a very valued member of the Court.
Peter Roberts made a presentment in July, urging this Court to pressurise Forestry England into changing its bylaws so that dogs are only allowed on the Forest on short leads in the bird nesting season.
There is no doubt that ground nesting birds are under very significant pressure in the New Forest and indeed elsewhere. Loss of suitable habitat, predation and disturbance are the three key factors. All three need to be addressed satisfactorily to ensure that ground nesting birds such as curlew and lapwing can breed successfully.
Mr Roberts objects to the strapline of NFDog “on the Forest, off the lead”. However, it is right to point out that its website also says” Keep to the main tracks when birds are nesting on the ground (usually March to July)”.
The Verderers have been engaging constructively with NFDog for some time to support and encourage its work which seeks to ensure that all dog walkers exercise their dogs responsibly when on the Forest. That engagement continues and our discussions will focus on, amongst other things, the need to achieve maximum protection for ground nesting birds in the nesting season from disturbance by dogs.
The Verderers do not rule out the possibility of seeking a change in Forestry England bylaws at a future date.
Concern was expressed by Mary Gray about the extent of brambles on the open Forest. The Verderers agree that bramble needs to be managed on the Open Forest especially where it encroaches on valuable grazing. I understand that Forestry England manage brambles and will continue to do so. Browsing by deer and commoners’ livestock contributes to that management. It may be of interest to those present to know that there are many species of bramble in the Open Forest which straddles two of the richest regional bramble floras in Britain with its heathland and pasture woodland soils.
Marking Fees For 2023
After much debate and discussion in Committee, we regret that marking fees for 2023 will have to increase.
The marking fee for ponies, cattle and donkeys on the Forest
will be increased by £2.00 to £26.00 per head.
The Common rate of marking fee, for those commoners whose animals qualify, will be £13.00 per head for ponies and donkeys and £3.25 per head for cattle, which is 1/8th of the Forest fee.
Marking fees for sheep also increase by £2.00 per head. Sheep on the Forest will therefore be £10.00 per head and on the Commons, it will be £5.00 per head.
The marking fees for pigs remain unchanged. On the Forest they are £4.00 per head and on the commons £2.00 per head.
|Announcements shared with kind permission of the Verderers.
This month’s other announcement regarding Cycling is on this link.
Image notes: Mark Gammon’s WWF Lifetime Achievement Award for his work on wildlife crimes for the Crown Prosecution Service from the 2021 Wildlife Crime Enforcers Conference, Bramble image excerpted from : 2005-07-05 Renardeau (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic), the cover of “Heathland” by Clive Chatters (one of his two current volumes for the Bloomsbury Wildlife imprint); Clive is currently Chair of the Habitat and Landscape Committee of the Friends of the New Forest. Other image elements and collage by Brian Tarnoff.