Open Spaces Society launch new publication

PUBLISHED: 12:57 28 June 2010

Pebblebed Heath Commons near Sidmouth included in new Open Spaces Society publication

THE Pebblebed Heath Commons near Sidmouth are included in a new publication launched today (Monday) by Britain’s common land campaigning group, The Open Spaces Society.

Finding Common Ground is the first-ever guide to how to recognise and take account of local community interests in common land.

It was commissioned by Government’s Natural England body and is on the society’s website: www.oss.org.uk/publications/free-publications.

Kate Ashbrook, the society’s general secretary, wrote the report with Nicola Hodgson, its case officer. She said: “Commons are unique. People value them for all sorts of reasons. There is no other type of land in which so much public interest is concentrated. A staggering number and many thousands of hectares of commons are designated as national or international sites, for their wildlife, landscape or archaeological interest—and nearly all of them are available for public access by right.

“These designations bring with them targets and guidance on how to achieve them but, until now, there has been no guidance on how to evaluate and respect the community’s interests in commons.

“Plans for grazing, scrub-clearance and tree-felling can all meet opposition unless the community is involved. Our guide shows how to identify the people who care about a particular common and how to involve them in the plans for its future. You must take time to understand why the community values its common and how to accommodate everybody’s wishes.”

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