Conservationists’ concerns over impact of staycations on Hampshire beauty spots such as the New Forest

WITH uncertainty continuing over foreign travel, Hampshire conservationists are concerned about the environmental impact of staycations on the county’s beauty spots such as the New Forest.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 8:48 am
Updated Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 3:10 pm
Conservationists are concerned about the potential impact of staycations on Hampshire beauty spots such as the New Forest.

The New Forest Association campaign group have highlighted issues experienced last summer including litter, parking on grass verges, and barbecues on heathland which can all damage wildlife habitat.

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Representative Gale Pettifer said: ‘I hope we don't see a repeat of last year - the absolute frenzy of wild camping, litter, disturbing wildlife, petting and feeding livestock.

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‘People's behaviour is changing the model of the forest. It should be a nature reserve but it's becoming an urban park.’

With many people expected to opt for a staycation this summer, conservationists have called for a ‘clear plan’ as the roadmap out of lockdown begins to roll out.

Russell Wynn, of the Wild New Forest conservation group, said: ‘There will be long-term degradation in terms of quality of habitat. There is acute pressure on honey pot areas in what should be heavily protected habitats.

‘The silver lining is that it has now sharpened focus on what has to happen quicker, in terms of management of recreation in the forest.’

Forestry England, who are involved in the management of the park, said it was ‘preparing a co-ordinated approach to the easing of the current lockdown’ with other organisations.

A spokesman added: ‘We will be putting a new action plan in place but this is a shared responsibility. It's up to everyone spending time in this special place to help protect it.’

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