Foundation for Common Land: the focus of our actions over the next two years (or so).
Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union the future of the British countryside and of the agriculture that supports much of it is unclear. The Foundation for Common Land (FCL) intends to seek opportunities to influence the UK’s future agriculture policy to ensure common land is rightfully considered. In helping us prepare this statement FCL is grateful to commoners and professionals from across the UK who have offered advice and information, including those who participated in a workshop held on 6th March 2017.
Many of the most beautiful parts of the British countryside are predominately common land, including The Lake District, The New Forest and Dartmoor, and common land is a significant part of other wonderful areas including Pembrokeshire and the Black Mountains of Wales, the Yorkshire Dales in England and the common grazing of the Outer Isles in Scotland.
All too often policies and regulations fail to address the unique aspects of common land; commons are an afterthought. We acknowledge that there is a general lack of understanding of what common land is and a lack of appreciation of the multiple public benefits common land provides, from access and cultural history to nature conservation, water management and carbon storage.
Over the next two years the Foundation for Common Land’s focus in partnership with others will be:
To promote common land as a core ingredient of our most iconic British countryside which requires active management to continue to deliver its impressive range of public benefits. Common land deserves to be celebrated – not forgotten.
To continue to provide a network enabling local groups of commoners and individual commoners to maintain and enhance the public benefits from commons. We will enable the sharing of information and good practice from between areas of common land and elsewhere. Topics raised by commoners that require action include:
- Animal husbandry and animal welfare
- Reducing and preventing grazing animals becoming involved in road traffic accidents
- Clarity on laws and regulations pertaining to common land
To continue to provide expertise in an effort to find solutions to specific issues that affect the management of common land. FCL will address:
- he protection of managed common land when at risk, especially from threats of deregistration or inappropriate stock levels.
- The design of future support (agri-environment) schemes to ensure they are appropriate for the governance of common land whilst providing reward for maintaining and enhancing its impressive range of public benefits (natural capital).
- The payment of the Basic Payment Scheme on common land.