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Commons Act 2006

The Commons Act 2006 allows for updating the provisions as set out in the Commons Act 1965.

The Commons Act 2006 (external link) contains new improved provisions for updating and maintaining common land registers throughout England and Wales.  The Welsh Government (WG) has responsibility for implementing the Act in Wales.  Although the Act does not contain any 'Wales only' provisions it allows Welsh Ministers to act as the 'appropriate national authority' in Wales.

The Act aims to:

  • protect common land from development
  • allow more sustainable management of common land
  • improve protection of common land from neglect and abuse
  • modernise registration of common land and greens to ensure that all enjoy the same protection.

The Act updates complicated and archaic laws managing existing commons and is split into 5 parts:

Part 1 - Registration

Part 1 allows commons registration authorities in Wales to continue to keep official registers of common land, town or village greens.   It also provides for:

  • revising the registers with new and updated information
  • the correction of errors in the registers 
  • the establishment of electronic registers.

Part 2 – Management

Part 2 enables the Welsh Ministers to make orders enabling "commons councils" to be established.  Commons councils could regulate and manage:

  • the agricultural activities of the common for which they are appointed
  • the vegetation of that common land
  • the rights of common on that common land.

Part 3 - Works

Part 3 prohibits restricted works on certain types of common land without the consent of the Welsh Ministers. It also sets out how the consent may be obtained and will replace section 194 of the Law of Property Act 1925.

Part 4 – Miscellaneous

Part 4 makes miscellaneous provisions such as:

  • providing powers for local authorities over unclaimed land
  • providing for Welsh Ministers to deal with unauthorised agricultural activities
  • abolishing certain archaic legislation.

Part 5 - Supplementary and General

Part 5 contains powers to:

  • amend how other Acts apply to common land and town and village greens
  • amend how local and other Acts which confer functions on Welsh Ministers apply to common land and greens.