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The Forestry Commission is calling on New Forest residents to help them combat costly and senseless vandalism which is undermining the hard work of their local teams.
Over the weekend, safety signage in Dibden Inclosure was slashed and torn down, causing a costly interruption to the forest operations and affecting the Forestry Commission’s ability to communicate with the general public.
South Walk Ranger, Zoe Cox explained:
“This is really disappointing. The signs are put out in order to keep people informed and to ensure they are kept out of harm’s way of dangerous machinery. They are there to protect the public, staff and contractors. This act of vandalism puts all forest users at risk.”
Her colleague, Richard Burke (South Walk Manager) added:
“A great deal of time and effort goes into the planning and preparation of all of our harvesting sites. The team has worked together to ensure that all aspects - including conservation interest, recreational use and woodland management are taken into consideration.
“For this particular worksite, because we have had a high level of public interest in the past, the Ranger Team has gone the extra mile to provide details of on-site surgeries and a regularly updated notice board. To be confronted with such malicious behaviour is frustrating for all involved.”
The current forestry works in Dibden involve the thinning (or sustainable removal of selected trees) throughout the Inclosure – specifically with conifers and also along broadleaf ride edges. No clearfelling is taking place and the works should only last a few weeks. Updated notices will be displayed on the notice board in Dibden car park and a map will show the current area of the Inclosure being worked.
“Unfortunately, although we believe the Dibden attack was an isolated incident, there have been other unrelated acts of vandalism across Forestry Commission sites in recent weeks. For example, in Wilverley Inclosure, a stretch of fencing was pulled down to gain access to an unsafe area and, in Poundhill Inclosure, a 13 tonne excavator was driven through the forest to a stream, where previous restoration work was destroyed. Needless to say, we would urge anyone with any information to contact us on 023 8028 3141.”
Notes to Editors
The Forestry Commission is the government department responsible for forestry in Great Britain. It supports woodland owners with grants; tree felling licences, regulation and advice; promotes the benefits of forests and forestry; and advises Government on forestry policy. It manages more than a million hectares (2.5 million acres) of national forest land for public benefits such as sustainable timber production, public recreation, nature conservation, and rural and community development. For more information, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest.
Libby Burke at the Forestry Commission on 02380 286832.