Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 changes the legal definition of a town or village green and sets out the qualifying circumstances in which land may be newly registered. Essentially anyone can apply to have land registered as a green if it has been used by local people for recreation "as of right" (i.e. without permission, force or secrecy) for at least 20 years.
A complete picture of who owns modern Britain is to be created as part of the biggest survey of land ownership since William the Conqueror commissioned the Domesday Book nearly a thousand years ago.
Walkers are to be given the "right to roam" around the entire coastline of Britain, under government proposals.
More of England's coastline should be open to tourists and walkers, the government is being advised.
Issue 3 of "The Land" has been printed and distributed. It is well worth a read - details at The Land is Ours.
Residents celebrate South Uist buy-out.
Planners Network UK (pnuk) is a fledgling organisation seeking to establish a network to support critical thinking about the current state of planning in the UK.
The go ahead has been given for work to start on the Bluestone leisure village in Pembrokeshire. This illustrates the endemic corruption within the planning system which deprives local people of housing whilst allowing a large commercial development in a supposedly protected National Park.
A price has been agreed for a community buy out of a 93,000 acre estate in the Western Isles.
The Land is Ours campaign was founded in April 1995 with the aim of bringing land-use decisions in Britain to account. The first action of the campaign was an occupation of Wisley Airfield near St George's Hill. Here is an excellent account of that occupation.
The government may be planning to introduce a new tax on the profits made by landowners selling sites for property development.
Unfortunately the Council for National Parks lost its final appeal at the Hows of Lords, paving the way for the trashing of part of the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
On August 22nd the Council for National Parks asked the House of Lords to hear a final appeal on whether or not the Bluestone holiday village can lawfully be built in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park - see press release.
I have just got back from Strawberry Fair where there were rumours that this is the last year of it being a free event. Getting back on the Internet I noticed that June 1st was the 20th anniversary of the Battle of the Beanfield and SchNEWS has an article about it which mentions a new book called "The Battle of the Beanfield" edited by Andy Worthington.
Dale Farm is still under threat of eviction. Check out Traveller Support for details.
Robert Harbord-Hammond has erected a barbed-wire fence around the village common in Hanworth, north Norfolk. Villagers have walked their dogs, grazed cattle and played with their children on the common for generations, and are in open revolt against this modern day act of enclosure. Patrick Barkham has written about the feud in the Guardian.
Check out the Wikipedia entry for Gerard Winstanley.
I am currently involved in setting up a housing co-op called Draig Enfys to purchase a farm in Wales.
The European farm subsidy system should undergo urgent reform because it is "skewed in favour of rich landowners", according to the charity Oxfam.
Someone just pointed out an article by Richard Morrison called Hypocrisy, a hut and a holiday village which appeared in The Times last April.
The Council for National Parks has lost its legal battle to stop protect the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park from development at Bluestones.
If you happen to need scythe blades please consider purchasing from Simon Fairlie's online Scythe Shop. He imports high quality Schrockenfux hand-forged scythe blades into the UK direct from the factory in Austria, and the money from sales helps support Chapter 7.
A farmer who grazed cattle for 30 years on land belonging to developers has won squatter's rights.
A friend of mine has been involved in complex proceedings related to the use of a farm building and told me that he gets good advice from an expert in planning law. About a week ago I lent him my copy of the latest edition of Chapter 7 News and it seems that his expert, Roger Jarmain, is mentioned. Further research revealed that the leading case on the validity of "second bite" planning enforcement notices is Jarmain v Secretary of State for the Environment Transport and Regions. It seems my friend has indeed found himself an expert!
More than 100,000 hectares were opened to the public this weekend under the new right-to-roam law. For more information check out The Ramblers' Association or the Government Countryside Access website. The first Ordnance Survey maps showing new access land have already gone on sale.
Tony Gosling has had a go at drafting something he calls a citizen's land security bill, and has made it available as landreformbill.rtf on his Public Interest website. He announced it on the diggers350 group, where he has since posted his response to criticism of the proposal by Kevin Cahill. Kevin is something of an expert on land ownership, having written a well known book called "Who Owns Britain". I have not actually read his book, but I just read this review of it by Cristopher Gasson of The New Statesman.
The Vestey family have been told they cannot go ahead with the sale of the Assynt estate in the Highlands until a legal decision is taken on whether local people can make an offer.
Bitter disputes between Travellers, councils and local residents are becoming increasingly common, as Jake Bowers and Alison Benjamin report.
As part of a project commissioned by the Defra Horizon Scanning Programme, the Future Foundation and the Centre for Rural Economy at Newcastle University have come up with a series of future scenarios and are inviting public comment.
Ramblers in England and Wales are being urged to take on board a new Countryside Code as "right to roam" laws give access to open land.
Tony Wrench and Jane Faith have been fined 400 UKP each for failing to demolish their turf roofed roundhouse.
Following the successful Easter action, TLIO have invited people to camp out in Devon at the end of May. If you are interested in self-sufficiency, low-impact building etc and want to meet people with similar ideas why not get yourself down there.
More news from the TLIO Easter action. I left on Monday evening and missed Tuesday's events. Apparently a load of people went to the Pembrokeshire Parks Offices in Haverfordwest to try to gain an audience with Catherine Milner and when this was not forthcoming they decided to occupy the car park, gaining much media attention - see this report.
The TLIO action in Pembrokeshire National Park went very well. I headed over to Glaneirw on Thursday night to join the others and on Friday final plans were made. We successfully occupied Castell Henllys and negotiated a sort of truce with the police which effectively allowed us to stay there till Tuesday morning. I met loads of cool people including some from Coed Hills and Tinker's Bubble. I am too busy to write a report at the moment so here is one from the Western Mail.
The Land Is Ours and Chapter 7 are inviting people to take part in a Land Occupation and Low Impact Dwelling Convention in Pembrokeshire National Park over the Easter weekend. For details see this posting to the diggers350 Yahoo! group.
www.zenatode.org.uk Ian Gregory 2010