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News statement 5 April 2023 - Public Space Protection Orders

5 April 2023

Following public consultation, we have approved bringing in new powers to ban the lighting of fires in the open Forest and the feeding and petting of Forest animals.

The proposals to make Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) in respect of the lighting of fires and barbecues in the open Forest (PSPO1), and the feeding and petting of Forest animals (PSPO2), were agreed at our Cabinet meeting on 5 April: 

The consultation, carried out in December 2022 to January 2023, found that 95% agreed with the proposal to introduce PSPO1, and 91% agreed with the proposal to introduce PSPO2.

At the meeting it was agreed that, based on the evidence presented to Cabinet at its meeting on 2 November 2022 and the response to the consultation, the relevant legal tests have been met and it is appropriate to proceed with the making of the PSPOs.

PSPOs, if used proportionately and in the right circumstances, allow us and our partners to counter unreasonable and persistent behaviour as they grant stronger enforcement powers and the ability to issue fixed penalties for breaches.

Although the vast majority of people enjoying the Forest do so with due regard to the New Forest Code, by making these PSPOs NFDC expect a reduction in anti-social behaviour associated with wildfires and barbecues on the Forest, and the feeding and petting of Forest animals, all of which are detrimental to the local community.

Formal enforcement will be used proportionately, and there will be information issued about these new restrictions and clear signage will be in place.

Anyone breaching the terms of the PSPOs, without reasonable excuse, will be committing a criminal offence, punishable by prosecution with a maximum fine of £1000, or by the issue of a Fixed Penalty Notice, with a maximum penalty of £100.

The PSPOs are expected to come in to force on 1 July 2023.

We and our partners will continue to work together both in readiness for the PSPOs to come into force and afterward to raise awareness and support the enforcement.

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