Page08 - Counting Commons and Police Pics


Hertfordshire is now part of a pilot scheme to discover English commons which were not registered under the commons Registration Act, 1965.

The Open Spaces Society says that under the Common Act, 2006, which has allowed registers to be re-opened, this is an opportunity to rescue some commons which may have been lost forever. Readers will recall our background article to the new Act by Margaret Jarratt, published in a recent Newsletrer. Access to the lost commons will be won by registering them, so walkers and, possibly, horse riders will gain. Ministerial consent is necessary before they can be developed. Another safeguard.

Subsequent to the pilot schemes in several counties, the register will be re-opened region by region over two years from October 2010.

The Open Spaces society has called on people to identify pieces of land which qualify for registration in their areas. The society is focusing on land which is waste of the manor. Legally, this is the land that is the open, uncultivated and unoccupied portion of a manor. This is historically important as it must be of manorial origin. undeveloped and unimproved. The House of Lords decided in cases that land could be considered manor waste provided at one time it had been part of the manor. There is a free fact sheet available from the Open Spaces Society.


Most of the time these days, we appear to be in a state of anger. No more so than over new laws which are strangling our freedoms. Latest addition is a provision that makes it an offence to take pictures of police officers. The police will have little difficulty in preventing people in a public place if they (the police) are thought to be shown in an unfavourable light. Even your friendly tourist could become a criminal.

Professional photographers and newsmen gathered outside Scotland Yard in protest. There were 300 of them on the day Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, accused the Government of unnecessarily restricting liberty in the name of counter terrorism.

The Metropolitan Police Federation was also alarmed and told the National Union of Journalists: "As things stand, there is a real risk of photographers being hampered in carrying out their legitimate work and of police officers facing opprobrium for carrying out what they genuinely, if mistakenly, believe are duties imposed on them by law." The Federation is meeting an NUJ representative and the NUJ have made a submission to parliament. There is already an aura of fear which will destroy local relationships. Before this law the Newsletter published pictures of new arrivals to our police team with full co-operation of the team.