Rooted in Cumbria

The Federation of Cumbria Commoners is a member-led organisation dedicated to promoting commoning in Cumbria. Our overall aim is to maintain and improve the viability of hill farming on common land.

We want this website to:

  • Inform you about new issues in commoning
  • Let you know what we are doing
  • Make our voice heard all over the world and much more

Plans for a Commons Council for Cumbria are moving forward

Many of you took part in the consultation earlier this year on how a proposed Cumbria Commons Council would work - its functions, rules and costs. These proposals can be found below.

Commoners and landowners from 15 of the largest commons have voted by a substantial majority for a council with the powers to make legally binding rules on all those using the common for agricultural purposes. This will help improve the grazing and vegetation management on their common.

CAP reform at a glance

We will be providing more information on how the CAP reform proposals affect commoners in due course. Starter for 10, the 10 key points of the reform proposals are as follows:

1) More targeted income support: fairer, simpler and more targeted support, fairly distributed among "active" farmers. Direct support payments capped at €300,000 in any one year.

2) More responsive and adequate crisis management tools: Safety nets for products most at risk of crisis, including private storage and public intervention, and the creation of insurance and mutual funds.

Update on Asulam for bracken control

Some of you will be aware that the chemical Asulam, used to control bracken, is to be removed from the market. However Defra and others are still trying to reverse the EU decision.

Simon Thorpe, from the Heather Trust, has updated the situation. As I now understand it Asulam will still be available for use 2012 under the use-up provisions. The message is that as far as possible it will be business as usual. During 2012, the contractors (helicopter and ground based companies) will be able to apply Asulam for landowners and managers, providing it was purchased before 31 December 2011.

Update of Common Land Environmental Stewardship Supplement: Natural England

Natural England have updated the 'Common Land and Shared Grazing: Supplement to the Environmental Stewardship Handbooks' September 2011

This supplement contains important additional information which should be read and understood by applicants to Environmental Stewardship (ES) in respect of common land and shared grazing, before an application is submitted. This document supplements the 3rd edition of the scheme handbooks and provides important additional information about making an application.

To download the updated supplement and application form click here:

The Federation's principles for SPS on Commons Post 2013

The Federation of Cumbria Commoners is a member of the Defra Working Group on Post 2013 Pillar 1 support on commons. After much debate at our last committee meeting we have issued a paper setting out our guiding principles - see below. However we recognise that this is a fast developing area and our ideas may change as and when other details of post 2013 reform come to light.

Let's not rush into change on our uplands

The July issue of Cumbria Farmer has an article from Julia Aglionby, one or our committee members. In this article Julia considers Natural England’s target to see 25% of the uplands wooded by 2060.

Julia believes that a sudden increase in woodland planting is not sensible or practical for the following reasons:
• The current stewardship schemes on commons are not fit for the task, as woodland establishment requires sheep exclusion for 20 – 50 years and Natural England can only offer payments for 10 years

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