Minutes of the Committee Meeting of the Federation of Cumbria Commoners at 7.30pm on Tuesday 4th September2012, ThrelkeldCricket Club

Present: Dave Smith (Chairman), Carl Walters, Julia Aglionby, Ernest Coulthard, Ian Gorst, John Jackson andViv Lewis (Administrator)

Apologies:Pauline Blair, Andrew Humphries, Duncan Ellwood, William Steele, Charles Raine Marianne Teasdale, Robert Benson, John Turner, Joe Relph

  1. Previous Minutes: the minutes were agreed.
  1. Matter arising

Young Commoners gathering scheme - so far nobody has come forward. Agreed to keep promoting it and spread the word

  1. Chairman’s report

Dave attended the 1st Rural Food and Farming meeting in May, Carl also attended. This group is likely to be a sounding board for rural issues and possibly a way of accessing senior civil servants.

Hugh Craddock who was the Head of the Commons Team at Defra has been moved to another position within Defra.

Action: Viv to write to Hugh on behalf of FCC to thank him for all the work he has done to promote commons and commoning in Defra

  1. Administrators’ Report:

Viv’ did not give a formal report as her work is covered in the agenda items below.

  1. Finance report:

Cash in bank £25, 451.63. Outstanding fees due from: Black & White Combe Graziers Ltd, Beacon & Burney Commoners Association, Nether Wasdale CA, Crossfell CA, Deepdale Commons Group, Birkby CA, DSTC CA, Bethecar CA, Brantfell CA, Bampton & Askham CA. Viv will chase these fees.

Agreed that the committee needs to consider how use these funds for the benefit of its members. For example to provide some match funding for establishing a Cumbria Commons Council if needed. Also to explore sponsorship for the newsletter – potential sponsors could be Newton Rigg, United Utilities, National Trust.

  1. Updates

a)Dave, Juliaand Viv met with Richard Leaf and Bob Cartwright of LDPA on 19/6/2012. They offered FCC observer status on the Lake District National Park Partnership. Agreed that FCC will take up the offer and attend the next Partnership meeting on September 24th. Either Dave or Viv will attend and report back

b)Local Access Forum asked if FCC would like to be a member of the Forum (Pauline Blair and John Atkinson have been past members). No member of the committee volunteered/ has the time to sit on the panel so we agreed to inform the LAF that FCC is keen to work with the them in an advisory capacity but we do not have the resources to be a member and attend meetings.

Action: Viv to inform LAF

c)MOD Warcop: restructuring of Common Land Undertaking to de-register Warcop Training Area as common land.

MOD undertook a public consultation between May and July this year on its proposal to revise two undertakings given in respect of land at Warcop Training Area. FCC was not invited to take part in the consultation/ comment on the proposals. We heard about it through a solicitor in Appleby after the end of the consultation period. Viv sent a letter of objection (see Appendix). Agreed that FCC will take this further in two ways: a) request a meeting with Richard Newman, Cumbria County Council as the commons registration authority, and b) send copies ofthe letter Rory Stewart, Tim Farron and MP’s and Cumbria County Council and Eden District councillors

Action: Viv to write letters.

d)Study tours/ visits: In June we were paid to host a delegation from IT Sligo in partnership with EFNCP. The aim was to raise the capacity in common land policy and management of Irish professionals involved in knowledge transfer and rural development. Pauline Blair and Carl Walters showed them their farms/ commons and the study tour was very successful. To see a report on the visit go to:

In August we hosted a visit of seven commoners from Abergwesyn common and NT staff. They visited Messrs CapstickBirkhow; Stainmore with William Steele and Ernest Couthard; Bampton common with Carl Walters; RSPB Naddle; Isaac Benson Little Langdale with John Atkinson and Neil Johnson (NT)

Action: Viv to put short report on website

e)RSPB Naddle update: little new information but will keep a watching brief. We have received an invitation to visit Geltsdale managed by RSPB. Agreed that committee will take up the offer and try to arrange in early – mid October.

Action Viv to arrange

f)Cumbria Connections Project (follow-on project from unsuccessful NIA bid) : The Farmer Network are working with Natural England on a project aimed mainly, but not exclusively at farmers and land owners in the Ullswater and Bassenthwaite areas, whose ESA agreements are coming to an end in the next 18 months and who do not get offered a Higher Level Stewardship agreement. FCC is involved in the design of this project so that it benefits commoners.

g)Carl Walters met Robin Mortimer of Defra and had the opportunity to inform him about issues affecting commoners

  1. Response to Natural England Evidence Review. We discussed questions posed in the ‘Determination of environmentally sustainable stocking rate regimes on moorland’

Action: Viv to complete evidence submission form

  1. Cumbria Commons Council update. After longs delays we hope to get this moving again. We need to submit all the evidence we have to make the case for substantial support to Defra. Viv and Julia will be meeting Naomi Oakley and Simon Humphries to discuss next steps in progressing the Establishment Order and appointment of a returning officer to prepare information on the persons who will be eligible to vote.

Action: Viv to arrange that a copy of all evidence is sent toDefra

  1. Friends of the Lake District have approached FCC to deliver2 training workshops for Chairmen of Commons Associations (1 in north and 1 in south if the county) on “effective running of commons agreements – potential pitfall and challenges”. Agreed that FCC will undertake this if there is sufficient finding for Julia Aglionby and a solicitor to deliver the training.

Action: Viv to organise

  1. Cumbria Grazing Forum: Agreed to liaise with Simon Humphries on the content of the meeting in November.
  1. Ernest Coulthard suggested that we write to Robert Benson to support the work done by the Bracken Control Group
  1. Date of Next meeting: Tuesday 6th November at 7.30 at Threlkeld Cricket Club


6th August 2012

Warcop Consultation


P O Box 607,


Oxon OX14 9GR,

WARCOP TRAINING AREA: Restructuring of Common Land UndertakingsConsultation

The above consultation came to my attention today. While I note that the consultation period ended on July 31st 2012 the purpose of this letter is to make a submission. We have been told by a colleague that you are accepting late submissions, therefore we hope you will consider our response.

The Federation was set up in early 2003 to be a representative voice to support and protect the commoners of Cumbria. We are a membership organisation and are open to all Commons Associations and commoners in Cumbria. We also have affiliate members who are members of Commons Associations in Lancashire and Northumberland. We currently have nearly 700 members.

This submission covers three areas of concern as follows:

1)The consultation process - we wish to question the breadth of the consultation. The Federation is an interested party in this consultation, but we have neither received information about the consultation process, nor have we been invited to the public meetings. We note that the Federation was not in existence at the time of the Public Enquiry in 2002 but informing “all those who attended the public inquiry (as far as is possible)” (p 26, Consultation Report April 2012) while necessary is not sufficient for a consultation process ten years on, as new stakeholders/interested parties will emerge in the intervening 10 years.

2)Commons Councils – we wish to question the assertion that a Commons Council will pose a threat to MOD’s management of the common land at Hilton, Murton and Warcop on the basis that is highly unlikely that a Commons Council could ever be established in the first place. To set up a Commons Council you need to demonstrate substantial support from those with legal rights including the owners and rights holders. The Secretary of State cannot make the order unless satisfied that there is ‘substantial support’ for a council. This judgement will be made on a case-by-case basis based on the relative weighting of the different interests (see p 17 Part 2 of the Commons Act 2006: Commons Councils. Technical Guidance on setting up a Commons Council, Feb 2010). As the MOD is the major stakeholder,the Secretary of State will have to be reassured that the MOD is favour of establishing a Commons Council before making the order. Thus we believe that a major part of the argument to cancel the first of the Common Land Undertakings is flawed.

3)We believe that the land is currently classified ‘waste of the manor’ and therefore cannot be de-registered.

In summary we do not agree that the effect of the Commons Act 2006 on the existing undertakings will be to produce a result that is contrary to what was intended at the Warcop public inquiry. We strongly oppose the proposal to de-register the land as common land and we wish that our views are taken into consideration in this consultation

Yours faithfully,

Viv Lewis

Administrator, Federation of Cumbria Commoners