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Chiltern Society & Forestry Commission


Forestry Commission and Chiltern Society Memorandum of Understanding

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to strengthen the collaboration between Forestry Commission and Chiltern Society in conserving and promoting the Chilterns and in related matters.

1. Preamble

Forest Enterprise is the executive agency of the Forestry Commission that cares for the Forestry Commission’s Public Forest Estate. Its aims are to produce the environmental, financial, and other outputs sought by Ministers and the Forestry Commissioners. It must meet these aims in a way that sustains the environmental quality and productive potential of the forest estate. Forestry Commission is defined within this Memorandum of Understanding as the South East England Forest District.

The Chiltern Society is a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Its charitable objectives require it to encourage conservation, development and improvement of the amenities, tranquillity and heritage of the Chilterns, to raise awareness of the area’s character and history among people of all ages and to encourage them to enjoy and care for its natural environment and beauty. The Society is one of the two largest English environmental amenity groups focussed on a distinctive sub-region.

2. Shared Objectives

The Forestry Commission and The Chiltern Society (“the Partners”) have agreed to work together in partnership, within the constraints of their respective governance provisions, in pursuance of their shared objectives for the conservation and sustainable development of the Chilterns. This Memorandum provides the basis for that partnership. Some joint projects may be subject to separate detailed agreements.

3. Scope

3.1 For the purposes of this Memorandum, the definition of the Chilterns shall be taken as the Chilterns Natural/Character Area as defined by Natural England but shall also include any area of the Chiltern Society’s area of benefit that falls outside of the Natural England definition. Nothing shall prevent the Partners agreeing to co-operate on matters concerning areas beyond the Chilterns, provided such co-operation is compatible with the shared objectives referred to in paragraph 2 above.

3.2 Key aims for co-operation will be:

3.3 In their joint work, the Partners will have particular regard to:

4. Conservation and Enhancement

The Partners will:
Liaise with each other where appropriate on the formulation of strategies for the conservation and enhancement of the Chilterns’ landscape, built and natural heritage and biodiversity.

The Forestry Commission will:
Consult the Chiltern Society on any proposals it has that might significantly alter the Chilterns landscape or biodiversity.
Advise the Chiltern Society of any opportunities for conservation volunteering within its conservation work programme.

The Chiltern Society will:
Endeavour to make available volunteers to undertake conservation projects on Forestry Commission land.

5. Planning

The Partners will:
Wherever appropriate, work together to promote Green Infrastructure developments in and around the Chilterns. This may extend to cover green-spaces and green-links within any adjacent urban settlements and rural/urban fringe areas.

The Forestry Commission will:
Consult/Liaise with the Chiltern Society about proposed planning applications relating to Forestry Commission land before submission.
Consult with the Chiltern Society on the review and development of Forestry Design Plans (FDP) within the Chilterns.

The Chiltern Society will:
Liaise with the Forestry Commission on planning proposals and applications that could impact on Forestry Commission land.

Both Partners reserve the right to object to planning applications submitted by the other Partner if a mutually agreed position cannot be reached through pre-application consultation.

6. Education and Awareness

The Partners will:
Co-operate in developing and delivering strategies, initiatives and joint projects that will increase awareness of the Chilterns and its natural heritage with people of all ages and backgrounds.
Undertake joint projects on Forestry Commission land that will encourage awareness of the natural environment and the Chilterns in young people through play activities.

The Forestry Commission will:
Endeavour to make available facilities and resources on its land for use in connection with the Chiltern Society’s Education Programmes.
Assist the Chiltern Society to develop woodland related elements of its proposed Chilterns’ Curriculum.
Permit the Chiltern Society to erect notice boards promoting its activities at agreed locations on Forestry Commission land and to design standards acceptable to the Commission.

The Chiltern Society will:
Endeavour to provide volunteers to assist with the delivery of Forestry Commission education and awareness projects and at events held on Forestry Commission land for educational and awareness purposes.

7. Encouraging Enjoyment of the Chilterns Environment

The Partners will:
Utilise their combined resources to encourage people of all ages and backgrounds to experience and enjoy the natural environment and heritage of the Chilterns.
Promote ‘Green Travel’ and other sustainable access solutions to help minimise any adverse environmental impacts of increased visitor numbers to Forestry Commission sites.
Promote healthy exercise activities in the Chilterns as a means of encouraging both enjoyment and well-being.

The Forestry Commission will:
Permit access to the Forestry Commission’s Public Forest Estate for walks, cycle rides and other events organised by the Chiltern Society.
Provide discounted entry/car parking charges for Chiltern Society members visiting Forestry Commission sites. Note: The detailed arrangements under this provision will need to take account of proposed Forestry Commission national policy.
Provide free entry/car parking for Chiltern Society volunteers working on Forestry Commission sites or leading Chiltern Society walks or cycle rides from such sites and for Chiltern Society members joining such walks or cycle rides.

The Chiltern Society will:
Organise Society led walks and cycle rides from and through Forestry Commission land.

8. Rights of Way and Permissive Routes

The Partners will:
Co-operate in the development and maintenance of the Chilterns Rights of Way network on and adjacent to Forestry Commission land.
Liaise on formal consultations or planning applications which may have an impact on rights of way that pass through or provide links to Forestry Commission land.
Liaise on the development of permissive routes on or linking to Forestry Commission land.

The Forestry Commission will:
Endeavour to provide any support requested by the Chiltern Society’s Path Maintenance Volunteers when they are conducting statutory maintenance work on Forestry Commission land on behalf of the relevant statutory authority (e.g. County Councils).

The Chiltern Society will:
Keep the Forestry Commission’s local manager informed of when its Path Maintenance Volunteers are proposing to undertake statutory maintenance related work on Forestry Commission land.
Will endeavour to provide volunteers to undertake development or maintenance work on permissive routes on Forestry Commission land when such assistance is requested.

For the purposes of this Memorandum:
- ‘Rights of Way’ means those footpaths and bridleways that appear on the Definitive Maps produced by the relevant statutory authority.
- ‘Permissive Routes’ means non-statutory permissive and other footpaths, bridleways and other routes for walkers, cyclists and horse riders on Forestry Commission land.

9. Volunteering Support

The Partners will:
Seek to expand the opportunities for volunteers to contribute to the achievement of their shared objectives.

The Forestry Commission will:
Subject to satisfactory agreement between the Partners, make available facilities on Forestry Commission land for use by Chiltern Society volunteers and staff undertaking activities in support of the Partner’s shared objectives.
Subject to satisfactory agreement between the Partners, make available space in its proposed new visitor centre at Wendover Woods for use by the Chiltern Society for awareness, promotional and sales activities.
Support any proposal by the Chiltern Society to develop ‘Green Gym’ and local ‘Friends’ groups as part of its efforts to meet the Partners’ shared objectives and to provide volunteer support to the Commission.

The Chiltern Society will:
Endeavour to establish a ‘Friends of Wendover Woods” group of supporters and volunteers as a Local Group of the Society. The purpose of this group would be to provide a range of volunteer support, activity leaders/helpers, survey researchers and other interests and activities that will help achieve the Partners shared objectives with regard to Wendover Woods.
Subject to obtaining a licence from BTCV, endeavour to establish a ‘Green Gym’ group to operate in the area close to Wendover Woods which would strengthen the Society’s resources available to conduct conservation work on the Commission’s estate in the area.

10. Liaison

The Partners will:
Meet not less than annually to review progress under this Memorandum of Understanding and any supporting agreements.
Encourage their local managers and officers/volunteer leaders to maintain regular contact with each other where appropriate.

11. Implementation, Amendment and Termination

No action arising from this Memorandum of Understanding will override the respective statutory duties or charitable obligations of the Partners.
The contents of this Memorandum of Understanding will be available for inspection by Forestry Commission staff, Chiltern Society staff, volunteers and members and other interested parties.
This Memorandum of Understanding may be amended by agreement of the Partners, provided any such amendment does not invalidate or affect any obligations to third parties made as a consequence of collaboration between the Partners.

This Memorandum of Understanding may be terminated by the mutual agreement of the Partners or following consultation between the Partners subsequent to one partner giving no less than six months notice to the other of its wish for termination, provided that termination does not invalidate or affect any obligations of either Partner to third parties made as a consequence of collaboration under this Memorandum or any separate agreement.


David Williamson
Forest Management Director, Forestry Commission

John Taylor
Chairman, Chiltern Society

May 2008.

The reintroduction of red kites in the Chilterns is perhaps the most conspicuous project we've been involved in.