Memorandum submitted by the Open Spaces
1. The Open Spaces Society, formally the
Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society, is Britain's
oldest national conservation body, founded in 1865. The society
campaigns to create and conserve common land, town and village
greens, open spaces and public paths, in town and country, throughout
England and Wales.
2. We are concerned that DEFRA's countryside
division has insufficient resources to carry out its vital role,
particularly in relation to national parks, and common land and
town and village greens.
3. We are particularly concerned that the
proposals for the future of common land have still not been published,
more than two years after the closing date for comments on DETR's
consultation paper Greater protection and better management
of common land in England and Wales. We understand that it
is the intention to publish proposals before too long, but we
consider that they should have been published long ago. The matter
is urgent, as we must ensure the long-term protection of our precious
commons from over- and undergrazing and encroachment from unlawful
4. We trust that the designation of the
New Forest and South Downs as national parks will not be delayed
through lack of resources.
5. We are also anxious that there should
be no delays from DEFRA on the implementation of freedom to roam
under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act. We are aware that
the timetable for publishing the regulations has slipped, for
example on closures and restrictions, local access fora and dedication
of access land under section 16 of the act, and trust this will
not lead to a delay in implementation of this much-wanted legislation.
We trust that DEFRA will publish proposals soon for early commencement
of some of the regions.
30 May 2002