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COMING OF AGE: THE NATIONAL FOREST 2014-2024 - Launch of the new strategy for The National Forest

Wednesday, 25th June 2014

The new strategy to take The National Forest forward over the next ten years is launched today at Calke Abbey.

The strategy highlights the priorities for the forest as it comes of age. The next decade will be a crucial period to lay down the legacy of the forest, and secure it for future generations.

“After nearly twenty years of investment and growth on the ground, The National Forest is here to stay,” said Catherine Graham-Harrison, Chair, National Forest Company. “It is visible in the landscape and valued by a very wide range of people and organisations. The strategy consultation told us that people want the investment to continue, including making it very easy to enjoy the forest, whatever your interest. It needs to be well looked after, into the future.”

Looking forward to 2014-2024, there will be continuing creation of The National Forest, with more trees being planted. Other habitats as well as woodland will continue to be created to develop a mosaic of green spaces and will be counted as part of the ultimate map of the forest.

Forest management will be increasingly important, systematic and long-term. It will take in all aspects of the forest, including non-wooded green areas and visitor attractions. The aim is to make the most of the forest in every way: a great landscape, supporting high quality recreation, heritage and wildlife. The commercial value of the forest will be realised, without compromising its public purpose.

The strategy highlights the importance of a great experience on the ground, for everyone in the forest. Attention will be given to effective marketing and information, making it easier for visitors and locals to enjoy the forest that meets their interests.

The creation and development of The National Forest is led by the National Forest Company. The Company is a Non Departmental Public Body and during this ten-year period it will move to become a charity, capable of entrepreneurial activity, and will eventually move to become independent from Defra, its current sponsor government department. This will be achieved through new business models and income generation.

The National Forest Company is successful in gaining support from a wide range of funders including many business sponsors. As the forest matures there will be increasing opportunities for others to be part of a national success story.

As part of the consultation process, one local resident commented: “To see the vision take shape over the last ten years or so has been a real privilege. I am very grateful to the people who have worked hard to make this happen.”