Latest News

Our clash with the military over threat to Cumbrian commons

August 29, 2018

We are set to clash with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) at the forthcoming public inquiry into the government’s application to deregister three large upland commons in Cumbria: Burton & Warcop fells, Murton and Hilton. This would turn the commons into private land and the application threatens to be the largest inclosure of common land…

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Fencing plan for Fylingdales Moor common

August 28, 2018

We have objected to a proposal to erect over five kilometres of fencing on Fylingdales Moor common in the North York Moors National Park. The application has been made by the Manor of Fyling Court Leet which wants to graze livestock there. Because the fencing is on common land, the applicant must obtain the consent…

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Our local correspondents gather in the Lickey Hills

August 23, 2018

Over two days in mid August, 29 local correspondents, trustees and members of staff met at the Hillscourt conference centre, Rednall, on the edge of the Lickey Hills country park south-west of Birmingham.  It was an opportunity to swap experiences and ideas and to learn more about the range of activities in which the society…

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Green light for Sevenoaks Greensand Commons Project, Kent

August 22, 2018

We are delighted that Sevenoaks District Council, Kent Wildlife Trust and other partners have won a National Lottery grant of £483,600 for the Sevenoaks Greensand Commons heritage project in Kent. The project, which we have supported from the start, aims to restore the commons as important open spaces with their fascinating history, abundance of wildlife…

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Top priority needed for environmental principles

August 1, 2018

‘New environmental principles should apply to all public bodies as well as central government. Natural England should be given greater resources, clout and independence to enable it to fulfil new obligations to protect the environment.’ So we have said in responding to the consultation from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on…

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Government’s planning charter fails to protect open spaces

July 26, 2018

We are dismayed that the revised Natural Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which was published on 24 July, gives no additional protection to open spaces, beyond a tiny improvement in wording. The society had objected in the draft to the restrictive wording accompanying the designation of land as local green space (LGS).  The draft stated that…

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Common-land swap at Gorseinon, Swansea

July 16, 2018

We are disappointed that Welsh Ministers have approved plans by Persimmon Homes to swap an area of Mynydd Garngoch Common at Gorseinon, north-west of Swansea. Persimmon has been permitted to strike 0.71 hectares of common land from the register and use it for development, replacing it with 0.81 hectares of land which the Open Spaces…

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We criticise new road-junction on Leigh Common, Dorset

July 12, 2018

We have criticised the Secretary of State for Environment for granting consent for further works on Leigh Common near Wimborne in Dorset.  However, we welcome the views of his inspector that there are ‘clear policy reasons to reject an application for this proposal’ under the procedure adopted by the developers, even though she went on…

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Parks under unprecedented pressure

July 4, 2018

‘Our public parks are under unprecedented pressure, 50 years after a law which was intended to protect and improve the countryside close to people’s homes.’ So declared our vice-president, Paul Clayden, at our annual general meeting in London today (5 July). ‘This week [3 July] we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Countryside Act 1968,…

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Countryside Act at 50

July 3, 2018

On 3 July we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Countryside Act 1968, an important piece of legislation.  The Open Spaces Society, with the Ramblers, played a major role in its genesis.  Our general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, explains its history and significance. The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, which led to…

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