Latest News

Our new activist for the Isle of Wight

November 10, 2020

We have appointed Mrs Helen Slade as our local correspondent for the Isle of Wight.  Helen, who lives in Ventnor, will be the society’s eyes and ears, keeping a close watch on paths, commons, greens, open spaces and the progress of the coastal path on the Island, and intervening as necessary. Helen has recently retired…

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photo of Clyne Common showing the proposed release land to the left of the track © Copyright Bill Boaden and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Somerset Trust withdraws Clyne Common land-swap for second time

November 9, 2020

The Duke of Beaufort’s Somerset Trust, owner of part of Clyne Common on Gower, City and County of Swansea, has for a second time withdrawn its application for a common-land swap.  Having twice objected to the proposals, we are pleased that the common appears to be saved, but are angry that the trust has wasted…

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Photo of ancient long house at Bryngwyn Bach on Rhos Gelli Gron common, close to the proposed fence-line. © Alan Richards, Creative Commons Licence

We oppose fence across historic landscape in Ceredigion

October 20, 2020

We have objected to an application from the Caron Estate for a 1,589-metre fence across Rhos Gelli Gron common, near Tregaron in Ceredigion. The estate applied for the fencing under section 38 of the Commons Act 2006.  The application is determined by the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of the environment minister.  The Open Spaces Society…

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We fight unfair land-swap at Clyne Common

September 22, 2020

As Britain’s leading pressure-group for common land [1], we are angry that the Duke of Beaufort’s Somerset Trust, the owner of part of Clyne Common, south-west of Swansea, has reapplied for a land swap, having withdrawn a similar controversial application in April. The trustees of the Somerset Trust have applied to the Welsh environment minister,…

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Agricultural grants must be properly enforced

September 8, 2020

We have criticised as weak and ineffective the government’s proposals for monitoring and enforcing compliance with agricultural grants.   In its consultation, Financial Assistance Statutory Instrument, the government proposes to monitor the use of public funds for delivering public goods as part of the new agricultural grant programme post Brexit.  However, it only proposes to…

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Minister refuses to extend deadline for registering common land

September 3, 2020

We are dismayed that environment minister John Gardiner has refused to extend the deadline for re-registering lost commons beyond the end of December 2020. The society is concerned that, in seven English local authority areas1, the deadline for registering lost commons is 31 December, less than four months away.  The research to uncover lost commons…

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We call for promotion of access at heart of future agricultural support

August 21, 2020

We have called for public access to form a core component of future agricultural support. Responding to Defra’s Environmental Land Management policy discussion document, the society says that ‘the public must be able to see, enjoy and learn from what is achieved with spending raised from their taxes.’  It has proposed that public spending on…

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Expanding our freedoms

August 21, 2020

The Open Spaces Society has long campaigned for responsible freedom to roam away from public paths in England and Wales.  The Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000 went some way towards achieving this, but the rights were only for walkers and were limited to registered commons, and mapped areas of mountain, moor, heath…

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Last chance for Forty Acres

August 11, 2020

Trudy Dean, chair of West Malling Parish Council, a member of the society, writes of the threat to a magnificent local open space. Forty Acres is a beautiful open area of gently rising farmland to the south of the A20 London Road in the Parish of East Malling and Larkfield in Kent. Confusingly running to…

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Taking people out of planning

August 10, 2020

With many other environmental charities, we have condemned the government’s proposals to speed up the planning process and reduce democratic involvement. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has published a consultation, Planning for the Future, with closing date of 29 October 2020. This proposes a total rewrite of the rules first set out…

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