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Cumbria now pilot area for new Common Land rules

Cumbria now pilot area for new Common Land rules

Burnetts' agricultural law solicitor Diane Barnes provides an overview of new rules under the Commons Act 2006 in which Cumbria has become a pilot area for the implementation.

On 15th December 2014, Cumbria became a pilot area for the implementation of new rules under the Commons Act 2006, replacing the Commons Registration Act 1965.

Under the 1965 Act, County Councils had to keep registers of common land, identifying the extent of the common land, its owner and details of the rights claimed.  Common land is land over which persons are entitled to exercise rights of common e.g. right to graze.  It is widely acknowledged that the registers are often incorrect or outdated, and incapable of being corrected under the 1965 Act.

The 2006 Act allows people to apply (in certain circumstances) to update these registers so as to:

  • Correct mistakes
  • Add/remove common land registrations (deadline: 15th March 2027)
  • Record sales/purchases/transfers of commons rights between 1970 and 14th December 2014 which are currently not registered (deadline: 14th December 2017)

Applications within Cumbria are to be submitted to Cumbria County Council in accordance with the deadlines set out above. However, the deadline for applications to correct mistakes depends on the nature of the mistake, and who made it.  Rights which remain unregistered or incorrectly registered beyond 14th December 2017 may be extinguished.

What you need to do now

It is important that holders of commons rights should act now in order to check that the Commons registers which relate to their rights are fully correct (including where the rights they hold are attached to land, that they own all of the fields listed in column 5 of the Rights section of the register) or risk forgoing their rights.   Holders of common rights should consult with their land agent and solicitor in order to check that their interests are protected and not at risk of being lost. 

About the author

Diane Barnes profile photo

Diane Barnes

Senior Associate Diane specialises in agricultural land and property sales.

Published: Wednesday 11th February 2015
Categorised: Agribusiness

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