Common land and regulation of works
Common land and regulation of works

The following Property guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Common land and regulation of works
  • Importance of common land
  • Prohibition on works without consent
  • Considerations in granting consent
  • Procedure for obtaining consent
  • Enforcement
  • Unauthorised agricultural activities

Importance of common land

Defra guidance advises that common land can deliver a range of benefits including:

  1. economic—grazing livestock, employment and income from sporting use, tourism

  2. agricultural—grazing of common land, maintaining sustainable agricultural management

  3. biodiversity—maintaining natural vegetation rich in flora and fauna, protecting a diversity of habitats promoting SSSIs

  4. archaeological—preserving landforms and features in uncultivated soils, protecting important archaeological and historic sites

  5. recreational—enjoyment of the landscape by visitors and tourists, open space for communities

  6. cultural—community use for ancient and traditional activities

Prohibition on works without consent

Section 38 of the Commons Act 2006 (CoA 2006) provides that consent from the Secretary of State/National Assembly in Wales (the 'determining authority') is required to carry out 'restricted works' on:

  1. any land registered as common land (see Practice Note: Creation and registration of common land for further information on how common land is registered)

  2. land not registered as common land which is:

    1. regulated by an Act made under the Commons Act 1876 confirming a provisional order of the Inclosure Commissioners, or

    2. subject to a scheme under the Metropolitan Commons Act 1866 or the Commons Act 1899

  3. land which does not fall into either of the above categories but which is in the New Forest and is subject to rights of common

'Restricted works' are:

  1. works which have the effect of preventing or