Petition Against the continued closure of Camping in the Forest Campsites

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Despite the government allowing campsites in England to open on the 4th July 2020, Camping in the Forest have announced they will not open their 16 UK campsites this year.

This decision will have a dramatic impact on local businesses who rely on visitors to campsites for a large part of their income.

Wild camping in the forest will become a significant problem leading to damage to the forest, littering and fouling with excrement.

Camping in the Forest, the company which operates 16 sites on crown lands, 10 of which are in the New Forest, has said it will not re-open its campsites despite lockdown rules being eased.  This decision will affect many local businesses who have already suffered a loss of income during the lockdown period and rely on visitors for their income.  Lyndhurst district councillor Hilary Brand said businesses “would not survive” if visitors could not come.  Forestry England has called on the company to “reconsider” the decision.

With no forest campsites open Forestry England have stated they are “aware of people’s concerns about the anti-social behaviour we are already seeing in our forests and fears that closed campsites might increase this”.  They added that they were “urgently talking to other forest organisations, landowners and local stakeholders to find ways to limit wild camping and other anti-social use of the forest”.  Local residents have also stated their concerns about visitors “illegally lighting bonfires, using the forest as a toilet, leaving piles of rubbish and parking wherever they like.”

Camping in the Forest said in a statement: “After careful review it was clear that our Forest campsites posed unique challenges, meaning that we would be unable to meet our high hygiene standards and adhere to government guidance on new measures around the running of campsites.”

We disagree with this statement from Camping in the Forest.  The forest sites have minimal facilities which would be easy to manage and clean.  The camping regulations already require camping units to be at least 6 metres apart to meet fire regulations so this would easily meet the rules on social distancing.  The other 2 main camping organisations in the UK, The Camping and Caravanning Club and The Caravan and Motorhome club, are opening their combined network of over 300 sites along with many more privately owned and operated sites so it is hard to understand why Camping in the Forest feel they are unable to meet hygiene standards while so many others can.

By adding my name to this petition of objection to the decision to keep Camping in the Forest camp sites closed I call on the company, Camping in the Forest, to reverse their decision and open their campsites for the remainder of the 2020 season.



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