Paul Thomson, Superintendent of Epping Forest and Judy Adams, Chairman of the Friends of Epping Forest, presented the outcome of the City of London’s recent consultation to the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Tuesday (7 June).
Ensuring the forests future
Forest Management costs £5 million and attracts 4.4 million visitors each year. The Friends of Epping Forest have been active for 45 years and encourage enjoyment of the Forest. They see this as the best method of ensuring its future.
Pressure to open up the Forest for cycling, access for all and creating a safe place for visitors were among the top issues to emerge.
Maintenance of the forest including mowing and grass cutting were a main issue. The consultation found the concept of commoners’ rights and cattle grazing were mostly supported. An Introduction of fees and charges to car parks as well as speeding was also a big concern. Mr Thompson also expressed unhappiness at the granting of some recent planning applications.
Litter is an ongoing problem. 150,000 bags of rubbish are removed each year. People want to see more bins. Fly-tipping costs thousands of pounds a year. People do not want to ban commercial dog-walking. There is support for encouraging filming as a means of income generation.
Copped Hall is one historic site prompting debate about conservation. Paul Thompson and Judy Adams agreed that the Forest is not a park.
Horses have been part of the Forest landscape for centuries. Paul Thomson acknowledged that current licensing arrangements could be improved. He also recognised the need to look at the deer sanctuary in Theydon Bois and also advised management of the deer population is linked closely to road safety.
Following a long and detailed question and answer session, Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman Councillor Mary Sartin thanked Paul Thomson and Judy Adams for a very informative presentation.