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New Forest survey set to launch

A survey to further understand the impact of new housing developments on important protected nature conservation sites in the New Forest is set to launch this month.

Residents and visitors will be asked about how they spend their time in the New Forest. This information will help local planning authorities in the surrounding area to identify measures to help understand and address the impact of an increase in population as a result of planned new housing development in and around the New Forest.

Dorset-based consultancy, Footprint Ecology, has been commissioned to undertake the survey on behalf of New Forest District Council, New Forest National Park Authority, Eastleigh Borough Council, Southampton City Council, Test Valley Borough Council, and Wiltshire Council. In spring 2018, these organisations received £250,000 of government funding to help update evidence and to work together to establish a consistent approach to ensure new development does not have an adverse effect on the unique wildlife and traditional management approach that characterises the New Forest.

Representatives from Footprint Ecology will be conducting face-to-face surveys in the New Forest over the coming months and in spring and summer next year. They will also undertake telephone surveys later this year to speak with those who live in and around the New Forest.

A representative of Footprint Ecology said: "We are working with various local authorities and organisations to gain a better understanding of what draws people to the protected habitats of the New Forest and how frequently they visit the area. The results of the survey will enable us to establish what further measures can be put in place in and around the New Forest to relieve some of the pressure and impact on the area."

The surveys will complement the wider work to update the New Forest Recreation Management Strategy. A detailed public consultation on the Recreation Management Strategy took place over the summer asking for people's views on how best to achieve this. The Recreation Management Strategy work and the Footprint Ecology research together will provide a sound basis for ensuring future enjoyment of the New Forest continues without causing damage to sensitive wildlife and habitats.

 

Published: 3 Oct 2018
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