Sustainable tourism in forest surroundings
A Center Parcs case study

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Page 5: Environmental impact

Center Parcs 7 Image 7The Netherlands is probably the most environmentally sensitive nation in Europe. Center Parcs developments in Britain reflect this care and concern. They demonstrate that large developments can still be managed in a manner that is sensitive to the environment.

When the Sherwood Forest development was first proposed, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was carried out in advance of applying for planning consent. If environmental problems had been identified, then the project would not have gone ahead. Careful monitoring of contractors ensured that the environment was protected as construction took place. Once open, the monitoring has continued so as to verify that the environmental requirements can be sustained in the long term and that no creeping long term deterioration is taking place.

Center Parcs 7 Image 8The Sherwood Forest site is set within 400 acres of what had been non-native coniferous plantation woodland. Conifer forests are low in biodiversity. Although it has been difficult to integrate biodiversity into the overall planning, Center Parcs has been determined to do so. Biodiversity is now an integral part of the overall concept. Setting up Sherwood Forest began with thinning the forest. Over 500,000 trees and shrubs were planted, and selected grass and wildflower species were sown. A network of lakes and waterways was created to form a key element of the village. Plants and trees introduced to these areas provided a new habitat that has attracted new life forms. This allows guests to relax amongst a variety of native flora and fauna.

In Sherwood Forest, heathland is naturally re-appearing in some areas. Heathland insects are re-establishing themselves too. More than 113 species of birds have been recorded on the village, including woodcock, tawny owl, green woodpecker and tree pipit. A specialist study of algae in the main lakes and ponds identified seven species of international importance. Not surprisingly, the Sherwood Forest site has won several awards, including the Business and Industry Environment Award.

Center Parcs | Sustainable tourism in forest surroundings