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House of Commons Hansard
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26 November 2009
Volume 501
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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department has taken to facilitate access to manorial documents held by (a) local record offices and (b) other organisations for the purpose of supporting public interest applications for the re-registration of land as common under Schedule 2(4) of the Commons Act 2006. [301457]

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It is the responsibility of an applicant under paragraph 4 of schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006 to obtain and provide evidence supporting his or her application. Where relevant manorial documents are held by local record offices, they will generally be available to the public for inspection. Where they are held by private individuals, arrangements for inspection should be made with the custodian.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will consider the merits of (a) publishing in electronic format and (b) permitting free access to (i) phase I habitat maps, (ii) the land cover map 2007 and (iii) other resources used by people applying to re-register common land under Schedule 2(4) of the Commons Act 2006. [301458]

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Public access is already generally available to similar documents where they are held by public bodies, under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004. Under regulation 6 of the 2004 regulations, a person may request information to be made available in electronic form, and a public authority must comply unless the exceptions in regulation 6(1) apply. DEFRA has arranged for electronic copies of the decisions of the Commons Commissioners in England and Wales to be placed on the website of the Association of Commons Registration Officers at

www.acraew.org.uk

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs for what reasons applicants for the re-registration of land under Schedule 2(4) of the Commons Act 2006 are required to provide large-scale ordnance survey maps describing the application area in circumstances in which existing register maps describing that area are available. [301460]

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The use of large-scale maps is required for the purposes of an application under paragraph 4 of schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006, in order to ensure accuracy in determining the boundary line of the land specified in the application. However, we accept that, where the application relates to the whole of a cancelled register unit, the representation of the cancelled unit on the register map could otherwise be suitable for the purpose of identification.

We are reviewing the pilot implementation of part 1 of the Commons Act 2006, and will consider what changes might be made to the regulations relating to applications under paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to the Act when Part 1 is implemented nationally at a later date.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether assistance from his Department is available to individuals or organisations applying to re-register common land under Schedule 2(4) of the Commons Act 2006 to (a) identify and (b) serve notice on the owners of that land, with particular reference to circumstances in which such land is not registered with the Land Registry. [301463]

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No assistance is available from DEFRA for the purposes of making an application to register waste land of a manor under paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to the Commons Act 2006, regardless of whether the ownership is registered with the Land Registry.

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the costs expected to be incurred by an individual or organisation applying to re-register common land under Schedule 2(4) of the Commons Act 2006. [301464]

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The impact assessment for the pilot implementation of Part 1 of the Commons Act 2006 concluded that the completion of an application form by applicants would impose a very small administrative burden on applicants. In addition, the costs of giving notice of an application to prescribed persons would also generally be low. The impact assessment noted that DEFRA intended to gather further information about the burden on applicants, but to date no applications have been submitted under paragraph 4 of Schedule 2 to enable this to be done.