Reregistration of common land
Since 2008 it has been possible to register lost commons in seven pioneer areas in England and a further two pioneer areas were added to the list in 2015. Several hundred square kilometres of ‘waste land’ that was eligible for registration under the Commons Registration Act 1965 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 Part 1. Under paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to 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 in due course become subject to the public right of access introduced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; and, may qualify as a section 193 ‘urban’ common (in which case, it would also be subject to a right of access for horse-riders).
From 5 May 2017, this opportunity to register lost commons is also available in Wales.
Regulations and guidance
The 2017 regulations for Wales and guidance, prescribe the process for making applications to amend the registers of common land and town and village greens. The society has issued a free DIY Guide on how to apply to register eligible commons. If you live in Wales, we would like to encourage you to take up the challenge of getting areas of common re-registered, and we are willing to help and advise you with this when you become a member of the society. Please also see our information sheet Commons Act 2006 Part 1 Registration for further information.
Deregistration of common land or town or village green
Under long-term transitional provisions, applications can be made to deregister certain areas of registered common land in Wales. Applications must be made under paragraphs 6, 7, 8 or 9 of Schedule 2 to, or under section 19 of, the Commons Act 2006. The criteria are quite strict, but we are concerned that some commons registration authorities will grant applications without sufficient evidence that the criteria are satisfied, particularly if no objection is made.
Members are asked to monitor applications to their local commons registration authorities, to see whether any applications have been made under Schedule 2 or section 19, and to object, or bring such applications to the Society’s notice, if appropriate. Fortunately, it is very easy to arrange to be notified of new applications.
Making a request to a local authority
Anyone may request, free-of-charge, one of the Welsh commons registration authorities to email a notice of any applications or proposals made to amend the register. To make a request to a commons registration authority, we suggest you write to the authority using the following template. There are 22 registration authorities in Wales and contact details are available here.
Such requests do not, and cannot, include notifications of applications to register new town or village greens under s15, nor any applications which can and must still be made under the Commons Registration Act 1965.
Template email for Welsh commons registration authorities:
Dear commons registration officer or officer dealing with commons registration matters
You may be aware that the Welsh Government has brought into force certain provisions in Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006, which provide for applications and proposals to amend the registers of common land and town or village greens held by your authority. These applications and proposals may be made under section 19 of, and paragraphs 2 to 9 of Schedule 2 to, the 2006 Act, and enable people to apply to register ‘lost’ commons, and to deregister certain wrongly registered land.
The society wishes to ensure that it is aware of any applications to, or proposals by, your authority under these newly commenced provisions. Under regulation 10(1)(b) of the Commons Act 2006 (Correction, Non-Registration or Mistaken Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2017, an authority which receives an application under section 19 of, or Schedule 2 to, the Commons Act 2006 must “serve a notice of the application by e-mail on anyone who has previously asked to be informed of all applications, and who has given the registration authority an e-mail address for that purpose”. Under regulation 11(5), the authority is under a similar obligation in respect of proposals made by the authority for the same purposes.
This email asks that I be informed of all applications made to, and proposals made by, your authority under these provisions. Please use the following email address for this purpose: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would appreciate an email confirming that my request has been recorded for future use.