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The society is backing a plan to create a commons council for Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. This would be the second commons council created under the Commons Act 2006—the first was established for the Brendon Hills in Devon in April 2014. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is consulting on whether to establish the Bodmin Moor Commons Council and will only do so if there is substantial support for it.
The council will provide a democratic management structure for the 71 commons registration units on Bodmin Moor. It will authorise those with rights of common to take majority decisions on agricultural matters. This will enable the commons to benefit from environmental stewardship payments. The model for commons councils is based on the pioneering Dartmoor Commoners’ Council, established under the Dartmoor Commons Act 1985. If it is approved the council will come into being on 1 March 2016.
Says Kate Ashbrook, our general secretary: ‘Bodmin Moor is a special place, and its commons are particularly important. Here we have the right to walk across a splendid landscape steeped in history, and to enjoy the wide views and fascinating archaeology. Bodmin Moor is part of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty because of its fantastic landscape.
‘But these public assets depend on the graziers to maintain the vegetation by grazing at the optimum level for wildlife, plants, archaeology and public access. It is important that the land is in good heart, and a commons council will help to secure its future.’
You can respond to the consultation here until 13 April.