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Forest Design Plans

Site visit to Deerleap with the New Forest 'PROGRESS' project French partners from ONFWhat are Forest Design Plans?

Forest Design Plans are produced by the Forestry Commission, to set out the management proposals for the next thirty years for the woodlands we look after. They aim to fulfil a number of objectives:

  • Provide descriptions of the woods as they are now,
  • Show the process the Forestry Commission goes through when deciding what is best for the woods in the long term,
  • Show how the woods should develop over the next thirty years,
  • Specifically show tree felling and re-establishment in more detail for the first 10 years and in outline for the succeeding 20 years.

Our aim is to produce a plan that meets the needs of those using the wood, meets the needs of the wildlife of the area and the needs of the Forestry Commission, as managers of a multipurpose sustainable resource. Often there are compromises to be made, but we hope that these are explained within the plan.

A plan does not set out to detail all the management operations in each area of a wood or exactly when the work will take place - the plan is a strategic document with broad-brush proposals within it.  More detailed site plans are prepared for each management operation as they come up and the broad proposals may well be modified.  After all, we cannot plan for natural changes in a wood, such as wind damage or the discovery of an important species that must be protected or a product that is in demand at the time of felling.  So any felling proposed within a plan is likely to be subject to minor changes during the life of the plan.  However, major changes that require a plan to be re-written would be put back to consultation before being approved to go ahead.

Approval of a Forest Design Plan:
A separate part of the Forestry Commission, Forest Services, which is not responsible for managing the woods or putting together the plans, is required to check that the plan meets all the relevant standards and statutes and undertake consultations on behalf of the Government before approving the proposals.  To obtain comment from individuals and organisations we publish the plans as PDF documents on our website allowing anyone to view them if they follow the link above to ‘Forest Design Plans Awaiting Approval’. 

If you want to comment on any of those that are being considered at the moment please address your feedback to the officer responsible for approving the plans.  Please ring 01483 326200 to find out who this is.

If you want clarification on any aspect of the proposals and how they will affect the wood, you need to speak to the Planning Manager.  You can find out who this is by ringing 02380 283141.

Comments relating to a specific footpath, gateway or anything about problems experienced with contractors and so on should not be fed back as part of the Forest Plan approval process, but instead should be addressed directly to the manager of the wood. You can find out who this is using the same 02380 number given above.

Approved Forest Design Plans:
You can view the plans for your local Forestry Commission wood via a web page that details all the approved plans.  Follow the link above ‘Approved Forest Design Plans’ to see if there is a plan for your local wood.