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Commons Act 2006 - Section 9: Temporary severance

Guidance on temporary severance, what it means and how it affects you.

Background

A right of common is, in essence, a right belonging to one or more persons to take or use the product of common land belonging to somebody else. This can include for example, grazing animals, fishing or collecting bracken or firewood. These rights are enjoyed by specific people (“commoners”), usually by virtue of the rights they hold being attached to the land they occupy, often adjoining a common.

Severance is the disposal of either:

  1. the rights of common independently from the land to which they are attached, or
  2. the land independently from the rights which are attached to it.
Severance of rights of common only occurs when the person using the rights is different from the person occupying the dominant tenement to which they are attached.   

The practice of permanent severance is now prohibited under the Act except by order of the Welsh Ministers in very specific and strictly limited circumstances.

What is Temporary Severance?

Temporary Severance permits an owner, or occupier, of a dominant tenement to either lease or licence all, or part, of their land but keep the rights of common for themselves.

It is also permissible to lease or licence all, or some, of their rights whilst continuing to occupy the dominant tenement for a fixed period of time. This can enable a person to supplement their own rights or to gain the use of the rights where they had none of their own. The temporary severance of rights can occur regardless of whether money is involved.

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