IT'S lockdown business as usual in the New Forest today.

New Forest District Council and Forestry Commission bosses are taking time to reflect before making any changes to their services following the Prime Minister's announcement last night.

In a speech from Downing Street, Boris Johnson said more outdoor activity will be allowed in England from this Wednesday, including unlimited exercise, trips to beauty spots such as beaches and national parks, and sport such as angling, golf and tennis, as long as they are kept to household groups.

But council bosses in the Forest, who run 51 car parks including several at coastal locations, will not make any immediate changes to sites or services.

The Forestry Commission, which operates 127 car parks in the Forest including many at beauty spots, is also taking time to reflect on the announcement.

A New Forest District Council spokesman said: "There will be no immediate changes to our services. We have been preparing for a number of weeks for how to safely re-open our sites and services.

"Following the PM’s announcement we will be taking the time in the coming days to carefully review this new Government information and will look at the emerging guidance to see what this means for NFDC.

"We will only make changes to services, which includes our coastal car parks, after careful consideration of customer and staff safety, and when we are sure social distancing can be upheld."

Restrictions are likely to be eased in stages in the New Forest, carefully considering the public's safety.

A Forestry Commission statement added: "In light of the latest government guidance we are currently reviewing our Covid-19 policies and planning next steps. Our priority remains ensuring we maintain the safety of our staff and the public. We will only re-open our car parks, when it’s possible and practical to do so.  

"Please do not obstruct gateways and car park entrances with vehicles, or park on the grass verges.

We hope to be able to provide a further update shortly, thank you for your patience and understanding during these challenging times."