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We have backed a proposal to create a commons council for the Brendon Commons in the Exmoor National Park. This would be the first-ever commons council under the Commons Act 2006. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is consulting on whether to establish the commons council and will only do so if there is substantial support for it.
The council would provide a democratic management structure, authorising those with rights of common to take majority decisions on agricultural matters. This will enable the common to benefit from environmental stewardship payments. The model for commons councils is based on the pioneering Dartmoor Commoners’ Council, established under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985.
We have strongly supported the establishment of a council for the Brendon Commons. This is long overdue. The Commons Act has been in force for seven years and yet only now are we seeing the first formal proposal for a commons council.
We believe that the establishment of this council will be to the public benefit. It will help to ensure that the wild landscape of the Exmoor National Park is maintained in good heart by those who graze the land. The public has the right to walk over the whole area and it contains important archaeological remains. It is in all our interests that the land is grazed at the right level to prevent impenetrable vegetation from growing up. The commons council will help to secure its future.
You can respond to the consultation here until 3 November.