Epping Forest Heritage Trust is calling on the City of London Corporation, the owner and manager of Epping Forest, to “show the vision and commitment of their predecessors”, and invest more in protecting and conserving the forest for people to enjoy now, and for generations to come.
Last year, the Corporation cut the budget for managing the forest by £1.66million – a 19 percent drop compared to the total budget for 2020/21. It has suffered 40 percent cut in its budget in real terms over the last 10 years.
According to EFHT bosses, extra funding is essential for tree, path and pond maintenance, as well as vital for habitat management to protect the forest’s biodiversity.
The ancient forest has always been a vital escape for East and North Londoners, people living in Essex and visitors from further afield. The importance of this has been highlighted by the pandemic and our growing awareness of the need for natural outdoor spaces.
However, the forest is currently facing the greatest challenges it has faced
since it was protected by the Epping Forest Act of 1878 – increases in visitor numbers, high pollution levels and climate change are all impacting on its precious ecology,
at the same time as the City Corporation has been pushing through these budget cuts.
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Ahead of the Corporation’s budget setting meeting for 2022/23 Epping Forest Heritage Trust is calling on the Corporation to properly recognise the importance of the forest, its biodiversity and its heritage, as well as the important role it plays in contributing to people’s health and wellbeing and in helping to tackle climate change.
The Trust believes that the Corporation needs to reverse funding cuts of the last 10 years and increase its funding for the forest to protect and enhance its biodiversity for generations to come.
Peter Lewis, Chief Executive of EFHT, said: “We all understand more than ever the importance of the Epping Forest to the people of London and Essex, as well as the Forest’s importance in terms of biodiversity, heritage and climate change.
“As we come out of the pandemic, we call on the Corporation to follow the visionary example of their predecessors and invest now in the future of the Forest for the good of us all, and for the good of our planet.”
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