A public consultation about two proposed Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) for the New Forest has been launched by New Forest District Council.
From Today (Monday 5 December) until Friday 27 January at 5pm, the public can comment on two proposed PSPOs, which look to ban the lighting of fires and use of BBQs principally on the Crown Lands managed by Forestry England, and the feeding and petting of ponies, horses, mules, and donkeys in the New Forest.
See maps at https://www.newforest.gov.uk/PSPOmap1 and https://www.newforest.gov.uk/PSPOmap2 for proposed restricted areas.
Cllr Diane Andrews, NFDC Deputy Leader, said: “A PSPO is a legal order that gives enforcement powers, including the power to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for breaches.
This consultation is a chance for people to express their views about the proposal to make two PSPOs and I would encourage them to take part.”
Patrick Heneghan, New Forest National Park Authority Deputy Chair and Chair of the Recreation Management Strategy Steering Group (RMSSG), said: “We very much welcome New Forest District Council’s consultation on these two draft PSPOs as additional measures to help deter inappropriate behaviours in the New Forest.
The New Forest is internationally important for its wildlife and many rare species; with hotter drier summers it’s more important than ever that we do all we can to reduce the risk of wildfires.
The Open Forest and the habitats it supports are maintained by the commoners’ animals grazing the landscape.
However well-intentioned, the feeding and petting of New Forest ponies can cause them serious harm, encouraging them closer to the roadsides and busy car parks and stopping them from seeking their own natural food.
The draft PSPOs have the full support of the RMSSG.”
Craig Harrison, Deputy Surveyor of the New Forest said: “We have been working closely with New Forest District Council and our other partners across the New Forest to look at ways to enhance the care of this special place.
Protecting the area from the growing risk of wildfires and their potentially devastating consequences is a key priority.
Our teams have spent many hours this year preventing irresponsible use of BBQs and fires, and working with the emergency services to respond to incidents.”
Background information and the online consultation forms can be accessed at https://www.newforest.gov.uk/publicspaceprotectionorders
If approved, the PSPOs would allow Fixed Penalty Notices to be issued with penalties of up to £100, or a fine of up to £1,000 with a Magistrates’ Court prosecution.
Officers will report back findings of the consultation to the Cabinet meeting in Spring 2023.