If you missed our concluding DEFRA Commons Test and Trial webinar presenting the findings from our 18-month enquiry into what needs to be in place for ELM to work on commons you can watch it here

This was the fourth in our series of webinars with the Foundation for Common Land. It was great to see so many people turn up and to hear our conclusions to the T & T. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Four presentations about the T & T 

Jo Swiers, our T & T Programme Manager, set the scene. She explained how we tested, trialled, and refined the components for a comprehensive commons management plan. Jo drew attention to our online toolkit    We are developing the “know-how” to write commons management plans and a lot more.

Julia Aglionby, Executive Director Foundation for Common Land, provided more detail on the Governance section of the toolkit. Julia gave two examples; a checklist to find out if your commoners’ association is fit for purpose, and how to create a live register for a common.

Viv Lewis, our administrator talked through the estimated costs to get a common into ELM. The range was between £4,000 for a small common with good systems and governance in place, to £20,000 for a 1,000 hectare common with no Association and poor relationships between the main interested parties. Interestingly, some members of the audience thought the day rates for specialists were too low, and the cost to get into a scheme could be higher.

Tracy May and Colin Able from Dartmoor told the audience how they found gathering the data for a land management plan. A key issue was the time it took. First, to gather the information from many different sources. And second because the data all came in different formats collating it was equally time consuming. Once done, it is a useful resource for developing and agreeing management plans.

Jo then summarised what we have learnt from the T & T. In brief:

  • Upfront investment needed
    Good independent Facilitation
    Advice and Guidance – a mix of DIY and commissioned
    Using networks to share knowledge / good practice
Update on ELM policy development 

The webinar ended with an update from Julia on ELM policy development. She covered: the increase in Countryside Stewardship rates and the recent updates on Sustainable Farming Incentive, Local Nature Recovery and Landscape Recovery.

A copy of the slides can be found 1. Final slide deck

Commons Toolkit

As mentioned in the webinar our Commons Toolkit is now live on The Foundation for Common Land website. It’s very much work in progress but we would appreciate your feedback.