The New Forest National Park Authority has confirmed new planning controls for temporary campsites to protect local communities and the environment of the New Forest following a consultation.

The New Forest National Park has seen a significant increase in the number of pop-up campsites since lockdown, and also has more than three times the number of camping and touring caravan bed spaces per square kilometre than the average of all other English national parks.

Under new national ‘permitted development rights’ introduced by the Government in summer 2023, pop-up campsites with 50 pitches or less can operate for 60 days a year without planning permission.

Planning authorities can make an ‘Article 4 Direction’ which means proposals can’t be carried out under national permitted development rights and instead require a planning application.

In ecologically-sensitive areas such as national parks, this allows the proposal to be considered in more detail and, where appropriate, suitable planning conditions to be attached.

Such a Direction was first issued in 2022 in response to concerns from local residents, parish councils and other organisations around the number of temporary campsites operating in the National Park, their impact on local communities and the wider landscape and habitats of the New Forest.

Following the introduction of further nationwide permitted development rights in July 2023, the Authority made a new Direction in October 2023 that had immediate effect, meaning certain ‘pop-up’ campsites within the New Forest National Park boundary need to apply for planning permission to operate.

A consultation was held on this new Direction in November and December.

We received 128 responses to the consultation, with 92% of respondents supporting the Direction.

The Direction has now been confirmed by the Authority.

The rules relate to the whole of the National Park and remove permitted development rights for 50 pitch/60 day pop-up campsites for:

  • any land first used as a temporary recreational campsite after 1 March 2020; and
  • the use of any land as a temporary recreational campsite for more than 28 days in total in any calendar year.

Article 4 Directions can be used by local planning authorities to protect residential amenity, the special qualities and habitats of an area, and the National Park Authority believes the use of the Direction within the protected landscape of the National Park is justified.

Gordon Bailey, Chair of the New Forest NPA Planning Committee, said: ‘The New Forest has the highest proportion of land designated as internationally important for nature conservation in the country.

It’s therefore vital we look after the very thing that people come to enjoy.

‘With landowners now needing to apply for planning permission in certain circumstances this new Article 4 Direction will help protect our communities and protected habitats.’

The National Park Authority has produced updated guidance to help inform future planning applications for temporary campsites, available on its website.

Find out about the direction at