NATIONAL SURVEY SHOWS GREATER AWARENESS OF THE NATIONAL FOREST

A recent national survey shows there has been a significant increase in awareness of The National Forest.

A random sample of over 2,000 people across the country was interviewed in November 2012, establishing current levels of awareness of The National Forest to measure against a comparable study conducted in 2006.

Over 43% said they were aware of The National Forest. This is a significant increase on the 36% in the 2006 study.

Awareness was higher than average amongst those aged 35 and over, and in the East and West Midlands (where the Forest is situated). Awareness was lowest amongst younger age groups, but even this had increased compared to 2006 results.

The Forest is increasingly associated with regeneration in people’s minds.  It is seen as environmentally-friendly, and continues to be strongly linked with conservation. Many young people know of the Forest through school visits and environmental education work: over 375,000 children have planted trees, hunted for mini-beasts, learnt tree identification, built shelters, and been involved in other environmental activities at Rosliston Forestry Centre or Conkers since the Forest began.

Television and word of mouth were two important means by which people got to know about the Forest.

Sophie Churchill OBE, Chief Executive of the National Forest Company, established by Government to facilitate the creation of The National Forest, said:

“If you compare The National Forest with the country’s really well-known and beautiful holiday areas, like the New Forest, it is so very much younger than them: The National Forest is really still in its infancy and I am very heartened that, according to this survey, almost one in two people whom you might meet on a train would have heard of it.  We now have a big job to make sure more people know of The National Forest, preferably through hearing nice things and then visiting and having a wonderful time.’

For more information on The National Forest visit: www.nationalforest.org

Ends

Media contact: Carol Rowntree Jones, Media Relations Officer, National Forest Company, 01283 551211
email: crowntreejones@nationalforest.org
Digital images are available – please contact media@nationalforest.org

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1.The National Forest Location Study was conducted by TNS in November 2012 on behalf of the National Forest Company.

2.The National Forest area covers 200 square miles of the counties of Leicestershire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire.  Its objective is to increase woodland cover within its boundaries from an initial six per cent to about a third. No multi-purpose forest on this scale has been created in the UK for one thousand years. To date the proportion of woodland cover in the Forest has more than trebled to 19 per cent and in 2012 HRH the Duke of Cambridge planted the eight millionth tree in the Forest. 

3.Year by year, The National Forest has been steadily turning what was once one of the least wooded areas of England into a multi-purpose, sustainable forest.  The National Forest provides environmental, social and economic benefits, including landscape enhancement, creation of new wildlife habitats and major new access and leisure opportunities. It is an excellent example of sustainable development – with environmental improvement providing a stimulus both to economic regeneration and to community pride and activity.

4.To achieve these objectives, the National Forest Company leads the creation of The National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, local authorities, private business, voluntary organisations and local communities and has strong support from Government, politicians and the public.  The Company receives grant in aid from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

5.The Independent Panel on Forestry, in its final report published in July 2012, stated: ‘The National Forest exemplifies how a long term, resourced and focused agenda can increase publicly accessible woodland in an area alongside other environmental and economic benefits.’

6.In 2008, the National Forest Company and partners won the inaugural Sustainable Development UK Award, for their work in Ashby Woulds, at the heart of The National Forest.

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