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New decisions for common land

New decisions for common land

Burnetts' agricultural law solicitor Diane Barnes discusses recent developments relating to common land.

Two recent developments relating to common land have potentially wide-reaching impacts.

Common Land Payments

Defra has announced that it will change how it calculates the payments that are paid out to commoners under the CAP. Previously, Single Farm Payment to commoners was calculated on a proportionate basis according to how many rights they held against the total number of rights recorded in the commons register.

As ownership of such rights can easily get forgotten, and not dealt with between generations, it can be the case that people with commons rights don’t exercise their rights.

As a result, Defra has decided to now calculate a farmer’s payments in a fairer way. The Basic Payment scheme will be calculated on the basis of the number of rights the claimant holds against the total number of rights claimed against in any year, rather than the total number of rights recorded in the register.

A considerable sum in backdated payments may now be due to those farmers whose Single Farm Payment has been under-paid.. However, any eligible farmers can only claim for up to the last 6 years.

The RPA is  writing to those who may be affected, inviting them to make a claim; you should seek professional advice if you wish to make a claim.

Unregistered Rights of Common

A recent High Court decision has ruled that unregistered rights of common, which have been exercised for in excess of 20 years, cannot now be noted on the commons registers. This will come as a blow for the many farmers who have been exercising unregistered rights on commons for many years. The High Court did allow permission for the claimant to appeal the decision, and we await news of  whether a further challenge will be made.

Contact Diane on 01228 552222 or email dkb@burnetts.co.uk for further advice on common land issues.

About the author

Diane Barnes profile photo

Diane Barnes

Senior Associate Diane specialises in agricultural land and property sales.

Published: Wednesday 29th April 2015
Categorised: Agribusiness

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