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

Unease about the Lake District National Park Nature Improvement Area bid

This scheme is part of the government's White Paper on the Natural Environment which will select 12 pilot areas across the UK to become part of a three-year plan to improve the natural environment. The Lake District National Park Partnership has been successful in its 1st round bid to deliver a step-up in nature conservation in the Bassenthwaite and Ullswater catchment areas.

The partnership now has to develop a full business plan. If successful they will be allocated about £600,000 over three years.

Federation's latest response to Defra Working Group SPS on Commons

We are a member of the Defra Working Group on CAP reform on commons that is trying to determine the detail of a scheme for SPS on commons. Our core aim is to support and maintain the active responsible management of common land. This is not an easy task and we do not have all the answers.

The key changes we have sought are:
1) Get rid of naked hectares by ensuring SPS is paid on the whole common
2) Ensure money is directed to active commoners whether active through grazing or committing not to graze in an environmental stewardship scheme.

£20 million for farming and forestry businesses

Agriculture Minister Jim Paice launched a new £20 million fund, the Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme, to help rural businesses increase profits and reduce their impact on the environment in early November.

Farmers, foresters and horticulturalists can apply for grants of between £2,500 and £25,000 to invest in green projects and new machinery so their businesses can grow in an environmentally friendly way to:
• save energy and reduce carbon emissions;

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.

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