Minister praises New Forest National Park for local economy boost

The farming minister has praised the value of the New Forest National Park in supporting local businesses.

david heath mp

David Heath MP at the New Forest National Park stand

David Heath MP spoke after his visit to the New Forest Show during National Parks Week (29 July to 4 August ), when he saw first-hand how the New Forest National Park Authority has helped support local producers.

A young commoner and a local farm shop were given royal recognition at the Show by the Earl and Countess of Wessex when they were presented with the first Country Land & Business Association (CLA) and New Forest National Park Authority awards.

Lee Winter from Fritham was awarded the Young Farmer & Commoner award whilst Jane Overall and Andy Alvis from Setley Ridge Farm Shop were handed the Best Supporter of Local Produce award.

The farming minister also praised the National Park’s support for the 130 members of the New Forest Marque scheme, which has helped create local jobs and gives businesses a distinctive ‘New Forest’ banner to sell their goods.

David Heath, minister for food and agriculture, said: ‘National parks like the New Forest are some of the most treasured places in the country and ninety million people visit them every year to enjoy what they have to offer. This supports thousands of businesses, such as the New Forest Marque food producers, which is great for the local economy.’

Alison Barnes, chief executive for the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We were delighted that during his visit, David Heath was able to see how National Park Authorities help make a difference to local businesses during these tough economic times. By working closely with our partners, parishes and business community here in the forest, we’ve helped provide opportunities for promotion and growth.’

Other highlights for the New Forest National Park during National Parks Week included:

  • The National Park being featured on ITV’s Daybreak breakfast programme with weather presenter Laura Tobin
  • The launch of the Beach Bus – a great value new service to take families to the beach at Lepe instead of travelling by car
  • And a holiday competition with sustainable tourism website Our Land, which created more than 1,000 entrants for stays in the New Forest and South Downs National Parks.

To find out more about the New Forest Marque go to www.newforestmarque.co.uk or to discover the Beach Bus route and timetables visit www.thebeachbus.info

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