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Common Land

We investigate legal models for securing and protecting common land.

Our research

The Contested Common Land research project investigated concepts of sustainable land use and commons over time. This led to further funded projects examining models for establishing “new” commons. Our research has subsequently investigated legal models for a new approach to securing and protecting common land for local communities. Key objectives are to:

  • identify potential uses of common land for open air recreational use for the public
  • further nature conservation and promoting biodiversity
  • consider strategies for dedication of land as “new” commons, protected by legislation
  • consider legal models for structuring land management for the new commons
  • reconcile the needs and interests of both landowners and the public
  • identify legal problems under the Commons Act 2006 associated to communal use – and how to resolve them
Our common land conference event.

Research briefings


  • Rodgers C, Mackay D, ‘Creating 'new' commons for the twenty-first century: innovative legal models for ‘green space’’ (2017) Journal of Environmental Planning and Management: DOI:10/1080/09640568.2017.1333407
  • Contested Common Land: Environmental Governance Past and Present (with A.Winchester, E. Straughton, M. Pieraccini), Earthscan Publishing, 2011
  • The Law of Nature Conservation: property, environment and the limits of law xxix and 321pp. (Oxford University Press, 2013)

Associated videos


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