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Letter: Of the Forest, wildlife and Johnson

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SIR – It’s all connected. The councillor responsible for regeneration in the New Forest could "confirm categorically" that New Forest District Council will not seek to stop off-lead dog walking even in the ground-nesting bird season (A&T, 10th December).

Nice for the pets and their humans; tricky for the wildlife.

In the same week Lord Montagu says that post-Covid and Brexit there are still not enough people driving into, through, round and across this tiny patch of open land to visit his business.

Do we want visitors to the New Forest or not?
Do we want visitors to the New Forest or not?

On the back page (Letters, 10th December) a writer yet again compares verderers with a "fiefdom", rather ignoring that this smallest national park is already the most visited by size and most densely populated. And in other news, developers will appeal any knockback of more dwellings.

Now all are no doubt smart and wouldn’t disagree with the published reports of 68% decline in animal populations, 11-57% decline in birds, and substantial declines in more than 50% of all insect species.

They’d agree that with less than 2-billion of us in 1922 and 8-billion of us in 2022, going on 11-billion – if we don’t change our ways then, well, no fauna, no humans.

Also ask each: are you miffed with the apparent selfishness of Boris? A resounding yes, no doubt

Yet ask each, individually, prince or pauper; what specific adjustment, decrease, loss of access or enjoyment to this scrap of open space that is the New Forest will you accept to save it? Er, well, you know – none. Selfish? Moi? as Boris would say.

We join him in raising a glass to self-interest. But we don’t admit it.

Peter Padfield,

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