25 July 1997

MAFF to studycommoners network

MAFF is considering adopting an NFU proposal to establish a network of commoners associations to improve enforcement of grazing and husbandry practices on commons.

The NFU has long argued that the lack of legislation binding active and non-active graziers has hindered uptake of environmentally sensitive area schemes on common lands.

Responding to the agriculture select committees agri-environment report, MAFF said the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions was funding a project to produce a guide to good practice in managing common land in England and Wales.

"The government will look again at the steps needed to improve the management of commons in the light of the projects findings, with a view to consultation with interested parties to explore whether the NFU approach or another would be widely acceptable and to consider whether and when effective legislation might be introduced."

Andrew Clark, NFU environment spokesman, said the union was keen to see active graziers given voting rights to ensure commons were managed effectively, with decisions taken by qualified majority. &#42