What is covered by the two new PSPOs?
The two new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) ban the use of BBQs and fires in the Forest, and feeding or petting ponies and donkeys. Those failing to comply liable to a fixed penalty fine (£100) or prosecution.
The PSPO for fire bans the lighting of fires of any type, BBQs and any outdoor cooking facilities or equipment. It also makes it an offence to place, throw or drop items likely to cause a fire such as lit cigarettes.
The PSPO related to Forest animals bans feeding or petting of ponies and donkeys on the Forest.
Why have they been introduced?
The fire related PSPO has been introduced to address repeated fire damage to the Forest caused by campfires and BBQs, and the growing risk of wildfires due to increasingly hotter and drier conditions.
The PSPO relating to Forest animals arose from concern over the safety of the public and Forest animals, following injuries to the public and animal fatalities resulting from being fed human food. It was clear additional measures were needed to better manage public interactions with these free-roaming wild animals which aren’t tame.
Who is going to enforce them?
Teams from Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderer of the New Forest will be patrolling and engaging with the public to explain more about the new rules. Their focus is on educating and informing the public to make people aware of the risks and how they can help to protect the New Forest when spending time here.
The PSPOs will be well publicised with signs and information will be in place across the Forest. Along with other key things to know about visiting the area, the new rules will also be highlighted in the New Forest Code widely publicised across the area and shared by local tourism businesses with many visitors before and during their stay.
How will you measure if they are successful?
The PSPOs provide a really important way to engage with more people and make them aware of the risks of these activities to the public and to this special landscape. The focus of their introduction will be on informing, educating and engaging with the public to raise their awareness of them and how they can support them to protect the area. We will monitor these interactions and the public reaction and support and that will form a key part of our evaluation of their success.
The success of the PSPOs will not be determined by revenues or volume of fines. This is not, and never will be, the intent of the PSPOs being brought into force.
What should people do if they see someone committing one of these offences?
If anyone sees an active fire, or an unattended BBQ/campfires/cooking equipment they should get to a place of safety and call 999 to report it to the fire service.
To report animal accidents, and other incidents please see the link below.
Non-emergency incident can reported to Forestry England on 0300 067 4600 and the information will be passed onto the duty officer. With limited resources it will not be possible to attend every incident, but this information is critical in building up a picture of priority locations to patrol on an ongoing basis.
Is it possible to appeal a fine and how is this done?
There is no statutory process of appeal for an offence covered by this Fixed Penalty Notice. This notice offers you the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for the offence.
If the fine is not paid, a criminal prosecution may follow.
Why have you not included sky lanterns and fireworks?
Fireworks and sky lanterns have not been included in the relevant draft PSPO at this time. This draft PSPO deals with the problems that have been identified during the evidence gathering process, which concentrate on the detrimental effects arising from the lighting of campfires and the use for BBQs in the open Forest.