NEW rules governing pop-up campsites in the New Forest National Park are due to come into force later this year.
The Lymington-based National Park Authority (NPA) is determined to limit the damage to the environment from temporary settlements that are springing up on farms and other sites.
From September, 28-day campsites with 51 pitches or more – and all 28-day campsites created after March 1, 2020 – will need planning permission.
This decision follows concern over the increasing number of temporary facilities appearing in the forest and their impact on the landscape and sensitive habitats.
An NPA spokesperson said: “The New Forest National Park has seen an increase in pop-up campsites in recent years.
“It now has more than three times as much camping and motorhome space per square kilometer as the average for all other English national parks. There are 12 known temporary campsites, with numbers ranging from 12 to 90.”
Under permitted development rights, temporary campsites can currently operate 28 days a year without official permission.
The figure was extended to 56 days in 2020 and 2021 as part of a campaign to help the hospitality sector survive the pandemic.
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But the NPA’s Section 4 direction means that new campsites – and larger existing ones – must obtain planning permission. The process will apply conditions to protect communities and the environment.
A six-week public consultation took place towards the end of last year.
The NPA considered feedback from a wide range of respondents, including campsite operators and key stakeholders. The majority backed the proposed new rules, including the RSPB and the Verderers.
About 20 percent of respondents opposed the plans while nine percent did not express strong opinions.
Gordon Bailey, chairman of the NPA’s planning committee, said: “The New Forest is already one of the most visited national parks in England and it is vital that we protect what people come here to enjoy.
“The new guidelines do not affect small temporary campsites that have been operating for a number of years, only new and larger sites.”