NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK LANDSCAPE ACTION PLAN 2013 (NFNPA LAP) DRAFT CONSULTATION 2 APRIL 2013 – 13 MAY 2013
In response to requests from ONE VOICE members, we have produced some observations in the above consultation document.
Although the Landscape Action Plan also refers to landscapes outside of the National Park, our observations are kept to areas wholly
within the National Park. There may be cross-over issues for people who live on the boundaries so you are advised to contact the
NFNPA for clarification.
Landscape Action Plan 2013
OV Observations and Member Feedback
“This plan has been prepared by NFNPA with help from the Landscape Strategy Steering Group”.
“Several meetings of the Steering Group were held in 2008/2009 to develop this draft”
No archived Minutes of this “Steering Group” can be found on the NFNPA website
“A joint Landscape and Wildlife Roadshow public consultation was held in June and July 2010 at five events in and around the National Park”
“More than 50 people gave their views about caring for the area’s spectacular landscape and wildlife at a National Park roadshow”
This appears to be the first NPA reference to “Dark Night Skies”
(Note: there are over 34,000 residents in the New Forest)
“This Landscape Action Plan is for everyone whose activities affect the landscape of the New Forest, from key organisations such as the National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and National Trust to individual householders”.
This Landscape Action Plan is very poorly written and confusing to many people. It does not encompass their “Duty to Involve”. We do not believe enough consideration has been given to ensuring that individual householders could make an informed response to the consultation – especially if they have persevered in reading everything beforehand and not lost the will to live.
Theme 1: Conservation and Enhancement of Tranquillity and Dark Night Skies
Page 9; 1.1 “Tranquillity and dark night skies of the New Forest are identified as one of the National Park’s special qualities and their conservation and enhancement form an important plank of the park Vision”.
Objectives and Actions
Page 16; 1.16 “The focus of the Landscape Action Plan is on how joint working, design and landscape can help enhance tranquillity and reduce night time sky glow”
Page 17, objective 1.3 “Reduce the impact of existing and potential lighting schemes on the New Forest both from sources within and outside the National Park”
Page 17, objective 1.4 “Reduce the visual and noise impact of main roads within and on the boundary of the National Park”
Before June 2010 no NPA documentation can be found to show that tranquillity and dark night skies are considered together. It is first mentioned as residents’ feedback from ‘road shows’ mentioned above. Since credible data of these events is not in the public domain and as we cannot verify this data elsewhere, we would advise caution when considering your response to Theme 1
Observations/Points to consider:
Action 2: Develop a tool to interpret tranquillity data that can be used in Development Control and Recreation Management. [This will be used for controlling Planning Applications]
Action 3: Minimise the use of security lighting especially in the open countryside [does this include individual households?]
Action 5: Identify exterior lighting fitments that minimise sky glow. [What happens if you do not have these?]
Action 1: Work with landowners to provide intermittent tree screens…” [Does this include individuals who own parcels of land for recreational horse keeping?]
Theme 2: Settlements in the landscape
We wanted to approach this consultation in an objective way and to ‘tease out’ the objectives and actions which could have a direct impact on day-to-day living in the New Forest, but this “Theme” has left us totally confused and unable to define intentions. For example: how does one decide if they live in a Nucleated, dispersed or linear village/settlement? Instead, we have listed below some of the ‘actions’ in the consultation which our members have said are of concern and how they can be interpreted: -
Use low key fencing in your garden such as picket
Use boundary hedges or field trees instead (not Leylandii or laurel hedges)
Do not use front garden lighting schemes
Do not have high boundary walls and fences
Do not have wrought iron gates or wide ‘bell mouth’ entrances
No overuse of conifers in front gardens
Resist the temptation to ‘tidy up’ verges
Conserve remnant woodlands and hedgerow trees where they fall in existing gardens
House signs (where essential): use timber and muted colours/finishes
Bollards: use local timber and avoid bright colours
The NPA will favour permeable buff coloured material such as gravels for driveways
Refer to ‘advisory information’ regarding the use of floodlights; lighting to drives and gates
Use low lux levels
Position under porches or eaves
Avoid upward light spillage
Use low level lighting bollards
This is not exhaustive but gives the reader a ‘snapshot’ of proposed policies and actions
Important Note: The above will be monitored by means of local surveys using fixed-point photography (see page 54 of consultation document).
Theme 3: Integrating roads into the landscape
This section refers mainly to roads approaching the settlements and is probably only workable with full cooperation from other agencies, such as Hampshire County Council or the Forestry Commission. A couple of points we can highlight are: -
Page 27; 3.5 “There is potential for using rumble strips that reflect the character of cattle grids as a means of calming traffic and creating the entrance into villages. These can prove unpopular with drivers and nearby residents.
Page 28; Action 5: Continue the strategy of ditch and bank works http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/INFD-95BCM3
Page 28; Action 6: Discourage the use of kerbs within the New Forest
Page 28; Action 8: Maintain traffic calming, such as pinch points
Theme 4: Integrating Access to Recreation Provision into the Landscape
We believe this theme should be removed from the Landscape Action Plan Consultation, as there are ongoing development plans for the future organisation of the Forestry Commission. See note below.
Theme 5: Integrating Renewable and Low Carbon Technologies into the Landscape
Again, we believe this theme should be removed from the Landscape Action Plan Consultation, as there are ongoing development plans as set out in the Secretary of State’s “Woodland Policy Statement” of which the “Grown in Britain” initiative is in its early stages. See note below.
Theme 6: Managing Forests and Woodlands in Harmony with the New Forest Landscape
Theme 7: Managing the Enclosed Landscapes
We believe neither of these themes can work without knowing the outcome of the PFE new organisatioal structure and the direction of the “Grown in Britain” initiative.
Note: Themes 4, 5, 6 & 7: will still require your comments when responding to the Landscape Action Plan Consultation
Theme 8: Monitoring Landscape Change
Some extracted points to consider:
Back-up grazing is essential for commoning
Pony paddocks are key issues to monitor – local field surveys will monitor total area of back-up land
Post and wire fencing is affecting the structure of many forest-edge landscapes – local field surveys will monitor this
To preserve dark night skies and rural quality – local surveys will monitor this
Extent of dark night skies – monitored by “local star counts” (Yes, you’ve read it correctly!)
Landscape Character Assessments (LCA’s)
These are important documents to read before submitting your overall response to the consultation. It would be best if you firstly read the LCA for your area, but we have teased out some points from various LCA’s that should give you a better understanding of the ‘direction’ of this consultation.
“A loss of hedgerow field boundaries and the spread of other land uses, particularly arable and recreational pony keeping, have also had significant impacts on the ancient structure and small scale of this landscape”
“The impacts of agricultural intensification and spread of non-traditional land uses such as horseyculture have led to a significant loss of historic lines of hedgerow”
“Fields now converted to equestrian uses are often overgrazed”
“A proliferation of large-scale pony paddocks and some improvement of land for arable cultivation impacting on the traditional functions of the landscape (including its important role for back-up grazing) and weakening its medieval character”
“The presence of rusting corrugated iron agricultural buildings giving the impression of an unkempt Landscape”
“Protect and manage the important stock of back-up pastures and paddocks for the grazing of commonable animals”
“However, the conversion of back-up grazing land around smallholdings to pony paddocks has led to a dilution of traditional New Forest character”
“Back-up land has been lost in the Ancient Forest Farmlands type to intensive recreational pony keeping”
“Conversion of back-up grazing pastures to pony paddocks – leading to a loss of this traditional land use and impact on field patterns due to sub-division with pony tape / fencing”
….. “including through potentially opening up the Inclosures to commoners’ livestock if appropriate and carefully monitored”
“Manage visitor locations and timings to protect valued flora and fauna”
“Use of unsympathetic close-board fencing around properties”
CROWN LANDS (Public Forest Estate) managed by the Forestry Commission
The Public Forest Estate will remain in public ownership ‘in trust’ and will be managed by a new management organisation. Legislation will be needed to make this happen – it may or may not be tabled during this parliamentary sitting because of shortage in time. Nevertheless, it WILL happen and we will NOT lose the expertise of the Forestry Commission. One Voice has been directly involved in discussions with Defra and FC officials to advise on how the new organisation could be structured. We have also asked, and been reassured, that the New Forest Acts and the Ministerial Mandate will not be diluted or changed in any way. As we understand it, this will be written into the new legislation. There will be an interface of “Guardians” within the new structure (as recommended by the Independent Forestry Panel) which we hope will not not include NGO’s or unelected bodies, such as National Parks.
“In the main the landowners are responsible for managing the land. So, for example, the Forestry Commission is responsible for looking after nearly 50% of the New Forest National Park area” see NFNPA website – this is YOUR public forest estate
“A New Forest Approach to the Government’s Forestry and Woodlands Policy” This recent document (NFNPA 430/13) sets out the National Park’s ambitions:
“Prepare for the establishment of a new body to manage the Public Forest Estate”
“We will act as a champion for wood-fuel in the local area”
“We will seek to create high value sustainable tourism initiatives that contribute more effectively to the local economy without adding to overall visitor numbers”
“We will seek to influence new legislation at the appropriate time”
“Ensure the Public Forest Estate in the New Forest is managed by a locally based organisation”
“We will also pursue the possibility of establishing an independent group of “local guardians”
“Grown in Britain”
The Grown in Britain programme is in the early stages of development. A list of organisations currently involved is available on the Confor website. We want Grown in Britain to be inclusive and focused on making a difference to British woodlands. We do not want to set up new organisations but instead pull together and add momentum to existing projects, demonstrating that the forestry sector can respond to new market opportunities. We hope that more organisations and individuals find ways of becoming positively involved and develop the ‘wood culture’ required to change the way society views and values our woods and forests.