THE New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) says it has suffered a 40 per cent cut in central government funding in the last three years.

But it says it can still protect the forest thanks to some successful grant applications.

The money it receives from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will be cut by a further 2.2 per cent this year and 1.7 per cent the following year. The grant, it says, has fallen in cash terms from £4.3m to £3m since 2010.

But during this time the NPA has won more than £20m in funding from other sources for specific schemes to benefit the forest.

NPA chairman Julian Johnson said the authority had worked hard to make savings as well as increase efficiencies by buying in services from other local authorities such as HR and financial advice, while generating income by selling its services, such as tree and ecology expertise, to other organisations.

He said: “This latest announcement is in line with the grant reduction that we had been planning for and we are confident we can continue our work to protect the forest, help people enjoy the national park and to support our communities.”