- New Forest Wetland Management Plan 2006 - 2016
- Environmental Impact Assessment Report
- Environmental Impact Assessment Appendices
- Environmental Impact Assessment Maps
The New Forest is divided into 584 SSSI units. Each one has been individually identified and assessed by Natural England, based on its habitat type, unique features, management regime and geographical location.
A number of these SSSI units are currently classed as being in ‘unfavourable’ condition. It is the responsibility of the Forestry Commission, who manage the Crown Lands in the New Forest, to work towards restoring these SSSI units to ‘favourable’ condition. In the New Forest, SSSI units are usually in unfavourable condition as a result of
- artificial drainage
- tree and scrub encroachment
- presence of non-native species
SSSI habitat restoration work has been undertaken in the New Forest for over 15 years with funding from various sources, including the EU-funded LIFE projects. One of the key objectives of the New Forest HLS Scheme is wetland restoration, to change the remaining unfavourable SSSI units to favourable condition, thus safeguarding an area that is recognised as being of outstanding importance for nature conservation in both the UK and Europe due to the size, quality and complex mosaic of habitats. In terms of wetland habitats, the New Forest supports one of only four significant sites of bog woodland in the UK, as well as one of the six best sites of riverine woodland. Together with other scarce wetland habitats, the Forest also contains the most extensive lowland valley mire systems in western Europe.
Each year the Forestry Commission researches and develops restoration proposals for 8-10 sites. Some of these only require minor works to restore favourable condition, but larger, more complex sites are presented at on-site consultation meetings attended by representatives from Natural England, New Forest National Park Authority, the Verderers, the Commoners Defence Association and the New Forest Association.
Once restoration proposals have been approved by the consultees, a detailed restoration plan is produced, taking into account site-specific sensitivities and constraints, such as archaeology, rare plants and ground conditions.
The Forestry Commission applies for Felling Licences (permission to cut trees on the Open Forest) in late summer, and comments are invited from Natural England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the relevant Parish Councils. Land Drainage Consent is sought from the Environment Agency, following provision of a detailed restoration plan with mitigation proposals for sensitivities and constraints.
The Forestry Commission is currently developing its level of community engagement by making details of planned restoration sites available on this website, and by liaising with the relevant Parish Councils. In partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, New Forest Rangers will be briefed on planned restoration sites to enable them to respond to enquiries from the public while on patrol.
Once Felling Licences have been granted, any tree felling and scrub clearance work on the Open Forest must be undertaken outside the bird breeding season (from August up until the end of March), with restoration work taking place on the ground during the summer months, when low flows and drier ground conditions mean that the impacts on the watercourse, the floodplain habitats and associated wildlife is minimised.
Each site that has been restored under the New Forest HLS Scheme is listed by name and year under the Completed Sites tab. As soon as they are confirmed, the sites that are due to be restored the following summer will be added, listed under the Planned Sites tab.
All sites have a brief summary describing why restoration work is required, and how that translates into what work will be done on the ground. The larger sites are accompanied by an annotated map, attached as a PDF.