The Commons Act 2006 (the Act) protects common land and town or village greens. This includes reinforcing existing protections against abuse, encroachment and unauthorised development. It recognises that the protection of common land has to be proportionate to the harm caused and that some specified works can be carried out without the need for consent. The Act also sets out criteria for the registration of town or village greens.
Deregistration, or deregistration and exchange, of common land
Applications may be made under section 16 of the Act to deregister, or to deregister and exchange, common land or town and village greens. A fee of £4,900 is payable for such applications.
Works on common land
Certain types of works on common land can be carried out without consent because they are exempt. Other works will require consent under section 38 of the Act or, where such consent is unlikely to be given, it may be necessary to apply for the deregistration of the land. It is for the applicant to decide whether consent is needed and which part of the Act applies.
Acquisition of Land Act 1981
Under section 19 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 an appropriation or compulsory purchase of certain types of land, including common land or town or village green, must be subject to special parliamentary procedure unless a certificate is obtained from the Secretary of State Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirming that suitable exchange land is to be given for the land taken, or that the giving of exchange land is unnecessary. There is no application form – applications should be made by letter.
The Planning Inspectorate decides the above applications on behalf of Defra.