Village Greens: Landowner statements: the threat to village greens (Wales)

On 22 October 2018, Wales’s greens suffered a blow, when provisions of the Planning (Wales) Act 2015 took effect. Now you must apply to register land as a green within two years of a landowner’s challenge to your use of the land for informal recreation.

Under section 15A of the Commons Act 2006, a landowner can deposit a statement and map which bring to an end any period of recreational use of the land which was ‘as of right’, ie without secrecy, force or permission. Once such a statement is deposited with the commons registration authority, local people have only two years in which to apply for village green status.

The notice of challenge to use of a green must be published on the commons registration authority’s website for at least 60 days and posted at or near at least one entry point to the land for the same period. However, if the site notices are removed, there is no requirement to replace them, so people could easily be ignorant that their use was being challenged.

The landowner must deposit a further statement and map within 20 years.

Registration authorities will hold a register of landowner statements and must serve notice by email on anyone who has asked to be informed. The register must be kept in electronic and paper form. The society has written to all the registration authorities to ask to be notified. You too should contact your registration authority if you wish to be notified of any landowner statements.

Clearly you should gather evidence of use and submit an application to register land before the landowner deposits a statement, otherwise you will have little time in which to do this.