Commons councils are democratic structures through which commoners, land owners and others with an interest in a common can work together to better manage agricultural activities, vegetation and the exercise of common rights. The Standard Constitution Regulations relating to commons councils were formally approved in April 2010.

To find out more access the Natural England website here: commons councils

Pilot project to establish commons councils in Brendon, Bodmin and Cumbria 2010/2011

Over the Winter/ Spring 2010/2011 Natural England funded pilot studies in Brendon, Bodmin and Cumbria to work up proposals for the establishment of pilot commons councils based on ‘Part 2 of the Commons Act 2006: Commons Councils. Technical guidance on setting up a commons council’.

Cumbria has 30% of the common land in Britain and a large number of active commons associations. In late 2010 Natural England instructed H & H Bowe in partnership with the Federation of Cumbria Commoners to test the level of support from commoners and owners for the establishment of an umbrella commons council. Twenty nine local commons associations covering just under half of all the common land in Cumbria took part. It allowed 799 stakeholders of whom 387 were active graziers, 357 non graziers and 56 owners to increase their understanding of the requirements and procedures to establish a commons council and comment on the design of procedural matters and arrangements of the council. They were then invited to vote, on whether they were in favour of establishing a commons council; 47% returned their ballot papers, and of those 73% responded ‘YES’. The Federation of Cumbria Commoners is now taking the process forward - to find out how it is proceeding click here. To read a report documenting the consultation process and analysis of the outcomes click on the document link below.

Brendon Common is an agriculturally active common located in the Devon portion of the Exmoor National Park and the eastern and southern boundaries of the Common are also the County boundaries between Devon and Somerset, and  the historic boundary of the former Royal Forest of Exmoor. In late 2010 Landsense Professional Ltd were instructed by Natural England to explore the possibility of Brendon Commoners Association becoming a Statutory Commons Council as a single common example. Three principle issues that the commoners found difficult were costs, voting procedures and disengagement. Brendon are currently working on developing a draft establishment. It is likely that Brendon will have a commons council up and running by mid 2012.  To read the report on the proposal to establish a Brendon Commons Council click on the link below.