Wiltshire Council’s cabinet has approved a revised New Forest mitigation strategy that will introduce a tariff of £600 for new developments surrounding the area.

The charge will be applied to each new dwelling within 13.8km of the New Forest protected sites to alleviate pressures generated by new residential and tourism development.

This zone was calculated through surveys that found that 75 per cent of New Forest visitors originated from residences within 13.79km of the National Park.

Salisbury Journal:  The 13.8km zone includes Salisbury. The 13.8km zone includes Salisbury. (Image: Natural England)

Through paying the tariff, developers will be contributing to mitigation measures across the entirety of the New Forest, such as pathway and infrastructure improvements.

At a meeting in Trowbridge County Hall on Tuesday, May 7, Wiltshire Council’s Cabinet approved plans to replace the current interim approach with this new strategy.

The leader of the council, Richard Clewer, described the herbivores roaming the New Forest as having an “incredibly beneficial” impact on the ecology of the site, creating a “unique environment” that draws people in, placing a “significant pressure” on the area.

The New Forest protected sites comprise the New Forest Special Protection Area (SPA), New Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and New Forest Ramsar site.

These international statutory wildlife site designations are legally protected, meaning Wiltshire Council must provide an appropriate mitigation strategy for the adverse consequences of nearby development.