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Last Updated: Friday, 7 April 2006, 06:22 GMT 07:22 UK
1m boost for New Forest wildlife
New Forest pony
The New Forest is famous for its wild ponies
The UK's smallest national park is to get 1m for wildlife and ecological work in its 900-year-old forest.

The New Forest in Hampshire, became England's eighth national park and the first since 1945, last year.

The beauty spot will be given a 1.2m grant to meet the costs of setting up the New Forest National Park Authority, which assumed its powers on 1 April.

It funds and develops conservation and recreation in the forest. Landscape minister Jim Knight announced the news.

Conserve and enhance

The New Forest is the largest area of lowland heath in Britain and Europe.

The authority is also now responsible for all planning decisions within the park boundary, stretching from the Avon Valley to Southampton Water and from the Solent coast to the edge of the Wiltshire chalk downs.

The grant is part of an overall 3.1m funding boost for England's national parks until 2007/08.

Mr Knight said: "I am very pleased that we are able to extend these powers to national park authorities, which will be particularly useful for resolving problems caused by off-road vehicles on rights of way and unclassified roads.

"This will help prevent damage, avoid danger, preserve the character of roads, and help conserve and enhance the beauty of our national parks."

Thousands attend New Forest Show
26 Jul 05 |  Hampshire
Forest code to halt bad behaviour
02 Jun 05 |  Hampshire
New Forest becomes national park
01 Mar 05 |  Hampshire

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