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Letter: There has never been a more urgent time for the preservation of New Forest

SIR – It was interesting to note that 21st March was the International Day of Forests, celebrating and raising awareness of all the wellbeing benefits of forests and trees around us.

Apparently this year’s theme is ‘forest restoration’ with the aim of restoring and preserving our natural heritage, and Princess Anne is encouraging more of us to plant a tree in order to help combat our carbon emissions.

She also suggests that the profile of our Country Code should be raised in order to help reduce the levels of vandalism and the increasing volumes of litter found throughout the countryside.

Interestingly, there was a report on the radio with the Woodland Trust the other day, illustrating the fact that because of lockdown so many people living in urban areas are gravitating to the New Forest.

We are so fortunate to actually have such a beautiful natural facility in which to enjoy our permitted quota of exercise and improve our wellbeing.

However, we are now reaching the unfortunate situation where the car parks in our leisure areas become overcrowded with all manner of vehicles including horse boxes and caravans, to such an extent that the grass verges alongside are heavily occupied, and gates are blocked, impeding any emergency vehicles from access if necessary.

I would suggest that the volume of day trippers is going to increase exponentially as the weather becomes warmer, because natural green spaces in local areas are increasingly being monopolised for building objectives. We see the reduction of ancient hedgerows and grass areas everywhere, and trees being felled in disturbing numbers.

In these terrible pandemic times we can’t blame people for wanting to drive further afield in order to enjoy nature and wellbeing, especially as so much of our green belt is being built on in order to provide for a continually increasing population.

But unfortunately there has never been a more urgent time, due to our climate change, for the preservation of our declining numbers of hard wood trees and hedgerows so that we can at least still enjoy the amazing biodiversity and the beauty of birdsong.

Fran Cossey,


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