Do you want to shape the future of paths and open spaces?
We need your help to keep our technical information, analysis & advice effective and up to date - your support means we can employ expert caseworkers.
This fact sheet covers the following information about Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006: getting land onto or off the commons and greens registers. It includes: the Commons Act 2006 Part 1 (Registration) implementation in England's pioneer areas and 2014 authorities, and Wales including:
Schedule 2: Non-registration or mistaken registration
Section 19: Correction of registers
- 1. Introduction
- 2. Schedule 2: Non-registration or mistaken registration in England
- 3. Schedule 2: Summary of provisions
- 4. Schedule 2 paragraphs 2, 3 and 5: Making an application in Cumbria and North Yorkshire
- 5. Schedule 2 paragraph 4: Making an application in Cumbria and North Yorkshire
- 6. Schedule 2 paragraphs 6-9: Making an application in Cumbria and North Yorkshire (2014 Registration area) and elsewhere in England (1965 authority) but not in a pioneer authority area
- 7. General Information relating to applications
- 8. Schedule 2 non-registration or mistaken registration in Wales
- 9. Section 19: Correction of the registers: England
- 10. Section 19: Making an application in England
- 11. Section 19 Correction of the registers: Wales
- 12. Section 19 Making an application in Wales
- 13. Keeping informed
- 14. Appendix
1.1 Schedule 2 to Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 (‘the 2006 act’) provides the mechanism for correcting mistakes made under the Commons Registration Act 1965 (‘the 1965 act’) but some of its provisions have not been implemented throughout England and Wales. Where part 1 has been fully implemented, it repeals and replaces the 1965 Act.
1.2 This information sheet explains what can be corrected and where the provisions are implemented in England and Wales. A decision on national commencement has been put off indefinitely. The appendix at the end of this information sheet provides a list of useful websites.
1.3 Section 19 of part 1 of the 2006 act provides a mechanism for correcting the registers of common land or town or village greens. This information sheet explains what can be corrected and where the provisions are implemented in England and Wales.
1.4 In England, commons registration authorities are classified as a ‘pioneer authority’, a ‘2014 authority’ or a ‘1965 authority’. The areas covered by each classification are as follows:
- pioneer authority: Blackburn with Darwen, Cornwall, Devon, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Kent and Lancashire (but not any unitary authorities in Devon and Kent);
- 2014 authority: Cumbria and North Yorkshire (but not the City of York; Cumbria in 2023 will split into Westmorland and Furness, and Cumberland);
- 1965 authority: elsewhere in England.
1.5 In Wales, the position is uniform among all 22 county or county borough authorities which are commons registration authorities.
1.6 Where land has under part 1 of the 2006 act, for the first time become registered as common land, it will be mapped as such in the next review of the access maps under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, and the public usually will gain the right to walk over the whole area. If the land is in a former borough or urban district, we believe that it will immediately become subject to a right of access on foot and horseback, under section 193 of the Law of Property Act 1925.
1.7 Furthermore, common land must not be developed or encroached upon without the consent of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (in England), or the Welsh Ministers, under section 38 of the 2006 act, or without exchange land being provided under section 16 of the 2006 act.
1.8 The land is therefore protected, and the public wins the right to walk and in some cases to ride there.
1.9 We have further information on successful applications for re-registration under paragraph 4 of schedule 2 to the 2006 act in the Cornwall pioneer area, including two case studies.
2.1 Implementation of schedule 2 in England is confined to specific areas. At the end of December 2020, the period allowed for making applications under schedule 2 in the pioneer authority areas came to an end. This means applications under schedule 2 can no longer be made in these areas.
2.2 In England applications under schedule 2 can still be made in the two 2014 authority areas (Cumbria and North Yorkshire). Applications to the commons registration authorities to correct mistakes in these areas under schedule 2 must be made on or before 15 March 2027.
2.3 Elsewhere in England, applications can be made only to deregister land under paragraphs 6, 7, 8 or 9 of schedule 2. Applications under these provisions must be made by 15 March 2027.
2.4 Applications must be made as set out in the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.
2.5 You can find application forms online.
3.1 Paragraphs 2 to 9 of schedule 2 set out the circumstances under which non or mistaken registration can be rectified:
3.2 Paragraphs 2 and 3: apply to land that was designated as common land or village green by or under an Act of Parliament but was not registered under the 1965 act.
3.3 Paragraph 4: applies to land that was provisionally registered as common land under the 1965 act but the registration was cancelled in certain circumstances (see below for details)
3.4 Paragraph 5: applies to land that was finally registered as common land but ought to have been registered as a town or village green
3.5 Paragraph 6: enables the deregistration of common land that has been covered by a building or its curtilage since provisional registration
3.6 Paragraph 7: enables the deregistration of certain other land that was wrongly registered as common land
3.7 Paragraph 8: enables the deregistration of a town or village green that has been covered by a building since provisional registration
3.8 Paragraph 9: the deregistration of certain land wrongly registered as a town or village green
4.1 Paragraphs 2 and 3: apply to land that was designated as common land or village green by or under an Act of Parliament but was not registered under the 1965 act.
4.2 Paragraph 5: applies to land that was finally registered as common land but ought to have been registered as a town or village green.
4.3 Anyone can apply. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2027. The application must include:
- evidence of how the criteria (in paras 2, 3 or 5) are satisfied;
- where it applies: a copy of the order i.e., a provisional order made under the Commons Act 1876; a copy of the scheme if the land is subject to a scheme made under the Metropolitan Commons Act 1866 to 1898 or part I of the Commons Act 1899;
- a copy of the act must be provided if the land is regulated as common land under a local act;
- a copy of the enactment if the land is recognised or designated as common land by or under any other enactment;
- where applying under para 2 or 3, and the application seeks to register land covered by a building, or curtilage of a building, the consent of the owner;
- a map at a scale of at least 1:2,500 (save in moorland areas, where a scale of at least 1:10,560 applies) showing the application land.
There is no fee for making an application but it must be made on the relevant form.
5.1 Paragraph 4: applies to land that was provisionally registered as common land under the 1965 Act but the registration was cancelled in certain circumstances.
5.2 An application can be made only if the land is ‘waste land of a manor’ at the date of application. The deadline for applications is 15 March 2027. In legal terms, waste land of a manor is, ‘the open, uncultivated and unoccupied lands parcel of a manor’. This means that the land must be undeveloped and unimproved. It must also be of manorial origin, although it need no longer be held by the lord or lady of the manor. There is no fee for making an application but it must be made on the relevant form.
5.3 The criteria for re-registration are:
- the land was provisionally registered as common land under section 4 of the 1965 Act i.e. between 1967 and 1970 and
- there was an objection to its provisional registration, and one of the following applies:
- para 4(3): the registration was cancelled by the commons commissioner solely because the land had ceased to be connected with the manor;
- para 4(4): the registration was cancelled by the commons commissioner because the land was not subject to rights of common, and the commissioner did not consider whether the land qualified for registration instead as waste land of the manor, or;
- para 4(5): the registration was cancelled at the request of or with the agreement of the applicant before or after referral to a commons commissioner.
The following notes explain how these circumstances came about.
5.5 Para 4(3) Cancelled by the commons commissioner because the land had ceased to be connected with the manor.
The definition of common land in the 1965 act, which guided people in deciding whether to apply for registration of land, was ‘land subject to common rights…or waste land of the manor not subject to rights of common’. Common rights include the right typically to graze animals, collect wood or dig peat, and are normally connected with a property. Applications for registration (known as provisional registration) had to be made during the three-year period between 2 January 1967 and 2 January 1970. There was a period for objections. Any disputed registrations were heard by a commons commissioner whose decision was final but could be challenged in the courts.
In 1978 the court of appeal decided, in the Box Hill case that ‘waste land of a manor’ must still be in the ownership of the lord of the manor at the time the validity of the provisional registration was decided. This caused the commons commissioners to cancel many applications for registration of wastes which were not subject to rights and which were no longer owned by the lord of the manor. In other cases, the applicants withdrew their applications in anticipation of cancellation.
However, in 1990 Box Hill was overturned by the house of lords’ decision in relation to Hazeley Heath. This held that land could be waste land of the manor provided it had at one time been part of a manor. This decision came too late for those applications which had been cancelled or withdrawn on the basis of Box Hill because the closing date for new registrations had passed, and it was too late to challenge the outcome in individual cases. The 2006 act affords another chance for some wastes to be added back onto the register, where it can be shown that the land is manorial in origin even if it has long-since ceased to be owned by the lord of the manor.
5.6 Para 4(4) Cancelled by the commons commissioner because the land was found to be not subject to rights of common and the commissioner did not consider whether the land qualified instead for registration as waste land of the manor.
Where none of the parties appearing before the commons commissioner argued that land, not subject to rights of common, might qualify as waste land, the commissioner often concluded that the registration should be cancelled without further consideration. However, there is authority to support the view that the commissioner ought to have examined the evidence of waste before coming to a decision in such cases.
5.7 Para 4(5) Cancelled at the request, or with the agreement, of the applicant for registration.
Some applications for provisional registration were withdrawn after an objection, perhaps because of the Box Hill case, or for some other reason, in advance of a hearing before the commons commissioner. Such agreements led to the commissioner cancelling the registration by consent, without the opportunity for the wider public interest to be considered. However, any disputed application that was withdrawn, whether it was referred to a commissioner or not, may qualify for registration. This includes applications that were part-withdrawn (‘modified’) or only part-confirmed by the commissioner, in relation to the part which was not finally registered.
The decision letters (see below) issued after the hearing held by the commons commissioner usually will show whether the registration was (a) cancelled by the commissioner because of the Box Hill case; (b) dismissed, in the absence of common rights, without the commissioner considering whether the land was waste of a manor; or (c) referred to a commissioner, but withdrawn before it could be considered at a hearing. Note, however, that where the application was withdrawn before referral to a commissioner, there will not be a decision letter but the land still may be eligible for an application under paragraph 4.
Evidence of manorial status may be found in archives. The Manorial Documents Register (MDR) provides a detailed catalogue of surviving manorial documents and their location. Manorial records and other historical sources need to be searched to confirm manorial status. The register is maintained by the National Archives at Kew and is available online.
The land must be open and uncultivated, so it will need to be inspected. It must also be shown that the land is ‘unoccupied’, i.e. it is not used profitably to the exclusion of others. Provided it is manorial in origin, and open, uncultivated and unoccupied, it is eligible for registration if it satisfies one of the criteria in para 4(3), (4) or (5).
5.8 Commons commissioners’ decision letters
Most of these can be found on the website of the Association of Commons Registration Authorities. A small number of decisions have not been captured: the commons registration authority may be able to assist in particular cases.
Steve Byrne has produced a comprehensive list of eligible areas for each of the commons registers in England. Details of his work are online.
6.1 Paragraph 6: enables the deregistration of common land that has been covered by a building or its curtilage since provisional registration
6.2 Paragraph 7: enables the deregistration of certain other land that was wrongly registered as common land
6.3 Paragraph 8: enables the deregistration of a town or village green that has been covered by a building since provisional registration
6.4 Paragraph 9: the deregistration of certain land wrongly registered as a town or village green
6.5 Anyone can apply (it is not necessary that the applicant is the owner or tenant of the land). The application must include:
- evidence of how the criteria (in para 6, 7, 8 or 9) are satisfied;
- a fee: determined by the registration authority;
- a map at a scale of at least 1:2,500 (save in moorland areas) showing the application land.
7.1 If you are applying to register or deregister land under any provision in schedule 2 you will be required to show in your application details of the provisional registration of the land under the 1965 act. You can find out whether the land was provisionally registered, whether the provisional registration was confirmed or cancelled, the land contained in any provisional registration, and any relevant dates, by referring to the commons registers and records held by the registration authority.
7.2 To make an enquiry, you will need to supply the following:
- your name, address, email address and telephone number;
- the register unit number (or the name or location of the common or village green);
- the name of the parish or district;
- the rights entry number (if you require details about particular rights).
7.3 You will have to pay a fee for an application under any of paragraphs 6 to 9 of Schedule 2. There is no fee for applications under paragraphs 2 to 4. If you pay a fee under paragraphs 6 to 9, and the application is referred to the Planning Inspectorate for determination, you will be asked to pay a supplementary fee. Ask the commons registration authority for details of fees.
7.4 You usually will need to supply a map to support your application. The map must be an Ordnance Survey map, with a scale of at least 1:2,500 to show any land you want to add or remove from the register, unless the land is wholly or predominately moorland in which case you may use an Ordnance Survey map with a scale of at least 1:10,560.
7.5 However, if you are applying to register land under paragraphs 2 to 5 of schedule 2 to the 2006 act, and the area included in your application is the entirety of a cancelled register unit, you may instead of a map refer to the register unit number of the cancelled unit.
7.6 Following an application made under schedule 2:
The application will be advertised by the registration authority:
- the applicant may be asked to supply further information;
- representations will be copied to the applicant for comment;
- the application may be referred to the Planning Inspectorate;
- a hearing or public inquiry may be held. If there is a public inquiry into an application under schedule 2, and the inspector decides a party has behaved unreasonably, a costs order can be made against that party;
- a written decision will be issued;
- if the application is granted, the register will be amended.
8.1 Applications must be made on or before 4 May 2032 on the relevant form and in accordance with the Commons Act 2006 (Corrections, Non-Registration or Mistaken Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2017 here.
8.2 Guidance notes, how to make an application and instructions on where to obtain forms for applications are available from the Welsh Government here.
8.3 The ‘general information relating to applications’ above applies also in Wales.
9.1 Section 19 is implemented throughout England but only for limited purposes and there is no time-limit for applications. It allows for applications to be made for the rectification of the registers to correct a mistake made by the commons registration authority when making or amending an entry in the register of common land or register of greens (section19(2)(a)).
Applications must be made as set out in the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014.
Application forms are here.
9.2 Applications additionally may be made in the following circumstances only in the areas of pioneer authorities and 2014 authorities:
- correcting mistakes not affecting the extent of the land or quantification of rights, i.e. any other mistake (section 19(2)(b));
- removing a duplicate entry (section 19(2)(c));
- updating the name and address in an entry (section 19(2)(d));
- updating to take account of accretion or diluvion (section 19(2)(e)).
More information can be found here.
9.3 It may in certain circumstances be possible to amend the registers of 1965 authorities, by an application made under the 1965 act, but this is outside the scope of this information sheet: please ask the commons registration authority for advice.
10.1 Anyone can apply. The application must be made on the prescribed form and must include:
- a statement of purpose i.e. the purpose for which the application is made under section 19(2);
- details of the register unit and, where applicable, the register entry to be amended;
- evidence of the mistake which the application seeks to correct;
- a description of the amendment sought to be made to the registers;
- other evidence to support your application;
- where relevant, a map at a scale of at least 1:2,500 (save in moorland areas) showing the application land;
- fees, where applicable. Fees are payable for applications for the purposes of section 19(2)(b), (d) and (e). There is no fee for applications for the purposes of section 19(2)(a) or (c) (where there is a wider public interest in making the correction). You should check the fee with the commons registration officer before you send your application. Fees are set by the registration authority and are not refundable, even if you decide to withdraw your application.
11.1 Section 19 is implemented in Wales and applications may be made for any of the purposes set out in section 19.
12.1 Applications must be made on the relevant form as set out in the Commons Act 2006 (Corrections, Non-Registration or Mistaken Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2017.
12.2 Guidance notes, how to make an application and instructions on where to obtain forms for applications are available from the Welsh government website.
13.1 We encourage you to monitor applications to your 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.
13.2 Anyone may request a pioneer and 2014 commons registration authorities, or an authority in Wales, to email notice of any applications or proposals made to amend the register. Outside the pioneer areas, anyone may request notice of any applications made to amend the register under paragraphs 6 to 9 of schedule 2, or section 19.
13.3 To make a request to a commons registration authority, we suggest you write to the authority using one of the following templates. Remember that in two-tier local authority areas, the commons registration authority is the upper tier authority: the same one as is responsible for highways and rights of way. Some inner city authorities may have little or no registered land, and may be a bit bemused to receive your request if the authority has no registered land, there is no purpose in requiring notices.
13.4 Please note that you cannot require to be notified of applications to register town or village greens, or applications made under the Commons Registration Act 1965, made to non-pioneer commons registration authorities (but you can always ask, if you wish).
13.5 Template email for pioneer and 2014 commons registration authorities
Dear commons registration officer or officer dealing with commons registration matters
Under regulation 21(1)(b) of the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014, an authority which receives an application under part 1 of 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 authority an e-mail address for that purpose’. Under regulation 22(5), the authority is under a similar obligation in respect of proposals made by the authority for the purposes of part 1. 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: email@example.com. I would appreciate an email confirming that my request has been acted upon.
13.6 Template email for non-pioneer and non-2014 commons registration authorities
Dear commons registration officer or officer dealing with commons registration matters
With effect from 15 December 2014, applications may be made to your authority, as a commons registration authority, under section 19 of, or any of paragraphs 6 to 9 of schedule 2 to, the Commons Act 2006, for the registration of, or deregistration of certain wrongly registered, common land or town or village green. Under regulation 21(1)(b) of the Commons Registration (England) Regulations 2014 (as applied by para.2(h) of schedule 8 to the Regulations), an authority which receives such an application must ‘serve a notice of the application by email on anyone who has previously asked to be informed of all applications, and who has given the authority an e-mail address for that purpose’. This email asks that I be informed of all applications made to 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 acted upon.
13.7 Template email for Welsh commons registration authorities
Dear commons registration officer or officer dealing with commons registration matters
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. I wish to ensure that I am aware of any applications to, or proposals by, your authority under these 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 email 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: email@example.com. I would appreciate an email confirming that my request has been recorded for future use.
Commons Act 2006 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/26/contents
Commons Act 2006 explanatory notes http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/26/notes/contents
Commons Act 2006 (Correction, Non-Registration or Mistaken Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2017
Fact-sheets and guidance notes on the pilot areas in England and Wales
Commons Act 2006 Wales
Our Common Land, the law and history of common land and village greens
by Paul Clayden, seventh edition, 2022. From the Open Spaces Society, £25.
Successful re-registration applications
Commons Registration Authority Addresses
Most addresses can be found here but we list the addresses of the 2014 authorities and the pioneer authorities.
Blackburn with Darwen
Commons Registration Officer
Commons and Greens
Tel: 01254 585242
Common land and towns and village greens
Commons and Greens Office
Tel: 01872 224773
Devon County Council
Devon County Council
G15 County Hall
Tel: 01392 382937
Commons Registration Office
PO Box 4
Tel: 01432 261991
Commons Registration Officer
Hertfordshire County Council
Tel: 01992 555279
Commons Registration Officer
Kent County Council
Countryside Access Service
Tel: 0845 3450210
Commons Registration Authority
County Secretary and Solicitor's Group (Ref: LSG4)
Lancashire County Council
P.O. Box 78
Tel: (01772) 530541
Welsh Registration Authorities
There are 22 registration authorities in Wales and contact details are available at
The Open Spaces Society has staff with exhaustive experience in handling matters related to our charitable purposes. While every endeavour has been made to give our considered opinion, the law in these matters is complex and subject to differing interpretations. Such opinion is offered to help members, but does not constitute formal legal advice.
© Open Spaces Society, 2022