Bernwood Forest Plan 2019-2029

Closed 24 Aug 2019

Opened 26 Jul 2019

Feedback Updated 29 Aug 2019

We Asked

Members of the public and stakeholders were invited to the consultation of the draft proposals for the Bernwood Forest Plan 2019-2029, to leave feedback to ensure that the plans objectives and proposals were considered and balanced. This was carried out via emails and notices displayed in the freehold woodlands in the plan area.

You Said

There were very few responses to the consultation but primarily there was good support for the proposals with the majority agreeing that the plan achieves an appropriate balance of social, economic and environmental objectives for the woodland. The main concerns raised include the following:

-  Limited heritage data shown on the maps and a request to carry out further surveys of archaeological features and share this data with HER was made.

-  Why a reduction of 25% of core habitat for black & brown hairstreaks is considered acceptable in the SSSI management objectives table and does this mean that no more than 25% will be managed.

-  The text related to the production forecast should be changed to ensure this shows a per annum figure as this currently implies the volume is the forecast over a 5 year period.

We Did

Comments and feedback were incorporated into the forest plan where necessary.

The request to carry out further surveys of archaeological features has been passed to the beat team and the East District FE Historic Environment Advisor to assess the practicalities of this. It should be noted that the plan does state archaeology is assessed as part of the OSA process before any work commences, and the county archaeologists would be consulted at this stage. A guidebook of protecting heritage features is also provided to staff to increase their understanding of heritage features.

The concern relating to the reduction of 25% of core habitat for the black & brown hairstreaks was raised with the East District Ecologist. This statement was taken from the favourable condition tables written for the woodland by Natural England which follow national guidelines. Although the aim is to maintain and improve habitat it is recognised that this may not always be possible to achieve and 25% is considered a reasonable reduction, and this does not mean only 25% will be managed. The ride and scrub management maps within the plan appendices show there is no intention of reducing ride management. Favourable condition table assessments are carried out by Natural England and these currently show that all units are either in favourable or unfavourable-recovering condition, showing gradual improvements are being made. Areas in unfavourable-recovering condition are those which still contain conifer which as the plan shows will be removed overtime either through clear fell or thinning operations.

Overview

Forest plans define the long term vision for a woodland or a collection of woodlands and set out how management will move towards achieving this vision over the next ten years.

We would like to invite feedback on the proposed Bernwood forest plan. This plan includes the Forestry Commission managed woodlands Shabbington and Chinkwell in Buckinghamshire, and Waterperry in Oxfordshire.

This online questionnaire forms part of a consultation with stakeholders that helps to ensure that we achieve an appropriate balance of objectives.

Why We Are Consulting

It is a requirement that all Forestry Commission woodlands are managed to the high standards needed to meet the UK Woodland Assurance Standard that in turn ensures sustainable forest management certification of the Public Forest Estate is maintained.

The forest plan is available to download as a PDF below or alternatively viewable online within the Survey. There is also a hard copy which can be viewed at the Forestry Commission Office in Wendover.

The online consultation will run until the 24th August 2019. Any comments should be submitted through the online survey form before the closing date. Feedback received after the closing date can not be considered.

What Happens Next

This online Stakeholder Consultation closes on the 24th August 2019. We will then examine the feedback and where possible, incorporate suggestions into the forest plan.

The forest plan will be submitted to Forest Services, the regulatory arm of the Forestry Commission, and placed on the public register to run concurrently with the public consultation. Subject to feedback approval will be obtained from Forest Services.

The approved plan will be made available on the Forestry Commission website at www.forestryengland.uk

Audiences

  • Landowner / manager
  • Local community member
  • Forestry Commission staff
  • Forest visitor
  • Forestry Commission agent / contractor / partner
  • Government department / agency or unitary authority
  • Non-Governmental Organisation / charity
  • Sports group
  • Commercial business
  • Wildlife management
  • Travel and tourism
  • Wood processor - including timber and woodfuel production
  • Media
  • Woodland group
  • Education and academia
  • East England

Interests

  • Woodland management
  • Forest design plans