Over half the New Forest National Park is internationally protected because of its rare habitats and wildlife, the highest proportion of land of any planning authority in England.
The New Forest National Park Authority established a Habitat Mitigation Scheme in 2012 to help protect these areas. It sets out how new developments can mitigate the impacts of additional people using the Forest for recreation. The scheme now needs to be updated to reflect the new Local Plan for the National Park, which was adopted in August 2019.
The proposed new scheme ensures that any new residential or visitor accommodation development will contribute towards identified mitigation projects, to ensure these internationally protected areas are not adversely affected.
The funding received will go towards initiatives including:
- providing or improving alternative recreational sites and walking/cycling routes outside the protected areas
- improving routes and signage within the protected areas
- monitoring and research of wildlife and habitats
- education, raising awareness and promotion of how special the New Forest is and how people can help care for it.
The main changes proposed in the Authority’s revised Mitigation Scheme include:
- confirmation that mitigation is required for all new residential and visitor accommodation development throughout the National Park
- mitigation is required for the full lifetime of the development
- provision to fund additional rangers each year
- an increase in the level of developer contribution required to reflect these changes.
The six-week consultation into the revised draft Habitat Mitigation Scheme runs from Wednesday 8 January until Wednesday 19 February 2020.
The proposals and consultation response form can be viewed and completed online at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/consultation or at the New Forest National Park Authority office at Lymington Town Hall, Avenue Road, Lymington SO41 9ZG during office hours.
All consultation responses will be considered once the consultation period closes and any amendments will be made before the revised scheme is discussed at a full National Park Authority meeting for formal adoption.
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