The area of research and information has already been a busy one for the Foundation for Common Land and this work has contributed to our profile and our reputation for constructive dialogue, networking and professionalism.

Trends in Pastoral Commoning

This was a significant research project that resulted in a 200-page report to Natural England and DEFRA. Since its submission, Trends in Pastoral Commoning has been referenced in several key government papers and is recognised as an important contribution to the understanding of pastoral commons in the UK.

A pdf is available online from Natural England:
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/publications%20NECR0001

Commons Council Guidance Leaflets

These publications from Natural England featured a significant input from members of the Foundation, enabling us to influence the Commons Council processes and to ensure that current practice was accurately reflected in the advice given in these leaflets.

Information is available online from Natural England:
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/farming/commonland/

A Commons Toolkit

A consortium of Foundation members produced this set of documents – Facts Sheets and Guidance Notes – on behalf of Natural England. These are available online and cover everything from governance and historical background to practical advice on access issues and non-agricultural use of common land.

The various Toolkit documents are available online from Natural England:
http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/publications%20NE285

Consultation and participation

Evidence has been gathered and contributed to Defra on the introduction of the Upland Entry Level Scheme (UELS) in England and we have also participated in the discussions on Single Payment Scheme issues with the Rural Payments Agency. In collaboration with the Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI) and Defra, the Foundation was integrally engaged in preparing and delivering the National Seminar on Common Land 2010. This meeting attracted 150 delegates, more than half from the commoners communities, marking a significant change in the level of grass roots participation.

Collaboration with the European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism

The Foundation worked with the Forum to set up a Spanish study visit for UK commoners, raising awareness of the European dimensions of commons. This also resulted in the publication of 'An assessment of the impacts of an area-based payment implemented within the single farm payment scheme on active graziers of common land in England', a report that is feeding into reform of CAP review and the implementation of agri-environment schemes.