Following on from the success of participating in the Environmental Stewardship Scheme for the last ten years since 2013, New Milton Town Council has agreed a five-year extension from 1 September 2023, committing continuing support to maintaining important green spaces in the town.
Environmental Stewardship is a land management scheme, operated by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) and the Town Council signed up to the Higher-Level Stewardship (HLS). This offers support for more complex types of management tailored to the local environment. The scheme aims to support important wildlife habitats, protecting and enhancing the landscape as well as emphasising the importance of public access and enjoyment.
Participating in the Environmental Stewardship scheme over the last ten years has seen improved land management at Ballard Water Meadow and Barton Common, both sites designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) that are also known nationally as Local Wildlife Sites.
Both sites are noted for being important examples of grassland and heathland habitats and have benefited from managed conservation grazing with New Forest ponies grazing at Barton Common and Dexter cattle grazing at Ballard Water Meadow.
In addition to the grazing, a dedicated team of volunteers from the Friends of Ballard Water Meadow undertaking conservation works in line with an agreed management plan. Ballard Water Meadow – New Milton (newmiltontowncouncil.gov.uk)
Cllr Geoff Blunden, Chairman of Amenities Committee said “We’ve seen great results over the last ten years, and we continue to be committed to our pledge to maintain and retain our special wildlife sites. We are very lucky to be guardians of many different habitats, living between the coast, farmland, open forest, and heathland. Working within the requirements of HLS and close working relationships with local people and conservation groups has enabled the community to access and enjoy these green spaces.”
Further information available:
Graham Flexman, Town Clerk
New Milton Town Council