The corporation will choose 16 local groups to sit on a new community consultative committee for Epping Forest. The groups will represent a cross-section of the community groups which have a specific interest in the heritage, recreation and conservation of the Forest. It will also be open to the public.
The committee will be able to learn about and discuss Epping Forest management and policy issues and its views will feed into the City Corporation’s the Epping Forest and Commons Committee, which makes decisions about forest policy. Philip Woodhouse will be chairman of both committees.
He said: "Epping Forest has always benefited from a wide range of user groups with a real knowledge and interest in the ancient woodland. We want to make sure that Epping Forest continues to be managed in an open and inclusive way."
A CoL Corporation spokesman added: "While we are introducing a further level of consultation, we hope that this will actually simplify our work. By talking together more purposefully with user representatives on forest issues, we believe we can construct better policies and procedures for the good of the forest."
The City of London Corporation already has a number of long-standing arrangements under which the views of local people are sought on Epping Forest policy. Under the Epping Forest Act 1878, four Epping Forest Verderers are elected locally to sit on the City Corporation’s the Epping Forest and Commons Committee. There has been extensive public consultation on management plans and the City Corporation meets regularly with publicly elected councillors from neighbouring boroughs Redbridge, Waltham Forest and Epping Forest District Council.
Similar set-ups exist all open spaces cared for by the CoL, including the Hampstead Heath Consultative Committee and the Burnham Beeches Consultation Group.
Epping Forest attracts more than over 4.5 million visits every year. It has over one million trees, some of which are up to 1,000 years old, including 50,000 ancient pollards of beech, hornbeam and oak. The ancient woodland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Area of Conservation.