A representative from Friends of Latchmore was invited to attend the New Forest Freshwater and River Restoration Strategy Workshop in December 2017 and, following the meeting, to provide feedback. Many of the delegates at the Workshop thought that all current work should cease, and no new sites should be developed, until the review is finalised and agreed. Please click here for details of our feedback and here for comments from Professor John Shepherd.
We have received information from a Brockenhurst resident, Peter Hebard, about the proposed formation of a new group which would address the issue of flood management in the New Forest. Broadly we agree with the aims of this venture and there may be Friends and supporters of FoL who would like to contact him and help, as will some of the FOL steering group. Please click here to read the information and for contact details.
A letter from Dr Fiona Macdonald in the Lymington Times dated 11 August 2017 questions the justification for the Forestry Commission’s “restoration” programme subsequent to the findings of the National Audit Office (see below).
On 31 July the National Audit Office sent an update on their investigations to the Rt Hon. Sir Desmond Swayne TD MP; Professor John Shepherd responded to this update on 4 August. Previous correspondence is here (29 March 2017), here (12 January 2017), here (25 November 2016), here (20 November 2016) and here (28 October 2016).
The March 2017 issue of Hampshire Life carries an article on the Frogham area and includes the route for an interesting walk in the New Forest following Latchmore Brook upstream from Ogdens to Alderhill and returning via Hampton Ridge, where there are lovely views in all directions.
Following our enquiries regarding the inclusion of parts of the Latchmore catchment in the Forestry Commission schedules for the current “wetland restoration” programme in the New Forest, we are glad to be able to report that we have had confirmation from Steve Avery, Head of NFNPA Planning and Park Services, that the decision has been taken by the HLS Board “not to implement any part of the Latchmore scheme”.
This means that no “restoration” work is scheduled for Ogdens Mire or Thompson’s Castle Mire, or in Sloden Inclosure based on the plans which were included in the Latchmore planning application no.16/00571. The updated Forestry Commission schedules for 2017-2019 are here.
Front-page articles in the Forest Journal dated 2 February 2017, “Wetland project axed”, and the Lymington Times dated 3 February 2017, “Controversial wetland scheme ditched”, report on the decision of the HLS Board to withdraw their plans to “restore” Latchmore Brook; and a report entitled “Delight for campaigners over brook” was published in the issue of the Southern Daily Echo dated 6 February 2017.
At the Verderers’ Court on 18 January, the Official Verderer announced that the HLS Board will not appeal against the decision of the NFNPA planning committee to refuse planning permission for the “restoration” of Latchmore Brook. Please click here to read the announcement. We are delighted that at this stage our campaign to protect this iconic New Forest stream has been successful.
A recently-published postgraduate thesis by Dr Alex Lovegrove entitled “Management and Monitoring in Protected Areas: A case study in the New Forest National Park” presents the results of research undertaken over the past four years . This research has evaluated the effectiveness of wetland restoration in the New Forest.
An extract, which was submitted by Professor Adrian Newton, Faculty of Science and Technology, Bournemouth University to the New Forest National Park Authority before the planning committee meeting (see post dated 27 October), is here: Chapter 4: The Recovery of vegetation following restoration work in New Forest wetlands and Chapter 5: Condition Assessment, Monitoring and Habitat Suitability of the New Forest Mires. The complete thesis is here.
On 12 January the National Audit Office confirmed to Professor John Shepherd that their enquiries into the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship Scheme are continuing. The letter from NAO is here and more information about the enquiry is here (24 Nov) and here (2 Nov).