New Forest Commoners attack Forestry England.

Image 16 of 21
< Prev Next >
BNPS_NewForestCommonersProtest_04.jpg
BNPS.co.uk ()1202 558833)<br />
Pic: PhilYeomans/BNPS<br />
<br />
Commoner Erica Dovey(37) with partner Tim Goldfinch and daughter Bella.<br />
<br />
A David and Goliath struggle is developing in the ancient New Forest between its Commoners, whose rights date back to the 13th century, and Forestry England.<br />
<br />
A public body has been accused of threatening the future of the New Forest by charging 'extortionate' rents to young commoners who help to maintain it.<br />
<br />
Forestry England has come under fire for charging full market rents on 65 Crown properties which, for over a century, have been set aside for commoners, the group of people with ancient rights to graze ponies and cattle in the Hampshire national park.<br />
<br />
Monthly rents which ranged from £300 to £500 have shot up to between £1,450 and £2,000, making them 'completely unaffordable' for commoners, it is claimed.<br />
<br />
As a result, it is feared a 'whole generation' of young commoners will be forced to leave the forest, with 'lasting consequences' for the conservation of the precious landscape.<br />
<br />
The rent increases have been imposed despite the government stipulating they could only be set at 15 per cent of a commoners' monthly income in the Illingworth Report (1992), according to the New Forest Commoners Defence Association.