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The Commons Act 2006

The Commons Act 2006 received royal assent on 19 July 2006, and is arranged in five parts: registration, management, works, miscellaneous, and supplementary and general. It repeals the Commons Registration Act 1965.

For further information about the Commons Act 2006, email us and order a copy of our information sheet C16 (please note: for non-members of the society there will be a charge of £2.50 for this information sheet)

To read the whole act for yourself, visit

Further information can be found at Defra and the Welsh Government

Re-registration of common land under the 2006 Act

Several hundred square kilometres of ‘waste land’ that was eligible for registration under the 1965 Commons Registration Act was not, in fact, finally registered. As a consequence, it ceased to be recognised as common land. A partial remedy for this defect in the earlier legislation is provided by the Commons Act 2006. Under Schedule 2, 4 of the Act, applications that failed under the original registration process may, in certain circumstances, be reconsidered – offering, in effect, a second chance for the land to be confirmed (‘re-registered’) as common. Land that is re-registered in this way will enjoy the special legal protection afforded to common land. It will also be subject to the public right of access introduced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; or, may qualify as a section 193 ‘urban’ common (in which case, it would also be subject to a right of access for horse-riders).

Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 provides everybody with a time limited opportunity to rescue some of the commons which failed to be registered under the 1965 Act. In seven pilot areas the registers reopened on 1 October 2008. These are:

(Click the links above to open a new window with the commons homepage of the relevant authority)

New regulationsand guidance, for these pilot areas only, prescribe the process for making applications to amend the registers of common land and town and village greens and can be viewed on the Defra website.

Applications can be made to register or deregister certain areas of land. Forms are available from the registration authority. The society has issued a free do-it-yourself guide on how to apply to register eligible commons.

The pilot is still being reviewed, but Defra have postponed national roll-out. To view the current position on implementation click here.

The society has available a set of search sheets for each of the pilot areas, which contain detailed information on areas of land which may be eligible for re-registration. If you live in one of the pilot areas, and you would like a free copy of a search sheet for your area, please email us and we will send you the relevant sheet with some guidance to the re-registration process.

If you live in one of the pilot areas, we would like to encourage you to take up the challenge of getting areas of common re-registered, and are willing to help and advise you with this when you become a member of the society.

The Open Spaces Society is grateful to one of our members, Steve Byrne, who has been undertaking detailed research about re-registration, and has provided the set of search sheets and other guidance to applicants. Steve has recently created his own site which contains detailed information about the work he has done. To visit his site, click here. Steve has received support from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd.

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