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Open Habitat Plan (OHP) for Thetford Forest

Aims and outcomes
How we plan to engage and consult stakeholders
Who’s involved and their role
Expected Benefits
What is and isn’t included in this initiative

Aims and outcomes

The principal aim of the Thetford Open Habitats Plan (OHP) is to create 10% permanent open habitat within Thetford Forest to benefit identified priority species across the wider Breckland landscape.

The plan is being developed using a methodology based on evidence from research carried out in 2010 and consultation with stakeholders.   It will be delivered through planned and opportunistic felling over a number of years.

How we plan to engage and consult stakeholders

The OHP for Thetford Forest covers a large and diverse area and there is a great deal of information to share to support people to provide informed feedback. We plan to consult stakeholders in 2 stages. 

Stage 1 November 2014: The Open Habitat Plan Advisory Group

Much of the data used to form the OHP will come from Graphical Information Systems (GIS) and biological and geological surveys and data. An Advisory Group of stakeholders with knowledge and skills to break the data down took part in a workshop in November 2014.  The workshop developed options and a draft Open Habitat Plan which could be reproduced in a map to support wider consultation on the ground.   

Stage 2: Wider outreach and consultation

Initially it was hoped that wider consultation would be carried out during the Summer of 2015 once the draft plan and budget for potential delivery had been confirmed.  This has taken longer than expected but it is important that the information shared with wider stakeholders is as accurate as possible. 

We hope to be able to continue with Stage 2 this winter. The draft OHP and related maps are available on the right hand sidebar

More information will be added over the next few months.  Mean while please ensure you sign up for email alerts on the Have Your Say in East District page.


Thetford Forest

Thetford Forest is situated in Breckland, East Anglia and is the largest man-made forest in lowland UK at 18,730ha.  17,653ha (94%) of Thetford Forest is designated for its national and international conservation interests, which are mainly associated with open habitats.  These range from ungrazed linear rides to extensive calcareous and acidic grassland grazing units, open wetland and fen areas.  

Background to the Open Habitat Plan

The Forestry Commission is required to manage at least 10% of the Public Forest Estate as open habitat to comply with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard. However the FC recognises that open habitats created in large felling coupes would not necessarily fulfill the biodiversity potential of Thetford Forest even if it does meet with Forestry Standards.

More information on the initial research and rationale for the Open Habitat Plan (OHP) can be found in Open Habitats Implementation Plan for Thetford Forest Exec Summary

Who’s involved and their role

Forestry Commission: East England Forest District Planning Team
Role of the Forestry Commission: To produce and deliver an OHP for Thetford Forest

Advisory Group Members
Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Natural England, University of East Anglia, RSPB, Friends of Thetford Forest, Plantlife, Butterfly Conservation, Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, Suffolk Biological Records Centre

Role of the Advisory Group: To assist with the development of the Open Habitat Plan for Thetford Forest through advice and support the delivery of wider consultation.

Stakeholders / Participants in the consultation
People or organisations who visit, use or have a stake in Thetford Forest.

Role of stakeholders / participants
To provide feedback related to the proposed OHP for Thetford to help refine and produce the final plan for delivery.

Expected Benefits

For stakeholders

  • A more diverse forest and benefits for the wider Breckland Landscape.
  • A better understanding of the Open Habitat Plan and what it will create
  • An opportunity to influence the Open Habitat Plan

For the Forestry Commission

  • A more diverse forest and benefits for the wider Breckland Landscape.
  • The benefit of local knowledge and expertise
  • An informed local forest community when delivery of the Open Habitat Plan begins.

What is and isn’t included in this initiative


Consultation and feedback opportunities to:

  • Look at options for the Open Habitate Plan
  • Influence the location of some areas of open habitat and the way the open habitat is delivered

Not included

An opportunity to change:

  • The recommendations from the Breckland Biodiversity Audit
  • The requirements of the Woodland Assurance Standard

Forestry Commission contact

Vicky Tustian

Last updated: 29th February 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.