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Contested Common Land: Environmental Governance Past and Present

By: Christopher P Rodgers

227 pages, Figs


Hardback | Oct 2010 | #187341 | ISBN-13: 9781849710947
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £69.99 $90/€77 approx

About this book

The common land of England and Wales is an important common resource with multiple, and often conflicting, uses. It provides some of the most ecologically sensitive environments and landscapes, is an important agricultural resource and provides public access to the countryside for recreation. Much common land is degraded and is subject to competing interests: farming, intense recreational use and conservation.

This unique book brings together original historical investigations from four centuries and contemporary legal scholarship to examine the environmental governance of common land from an interdisciplinary perspective. It uses four case studies of common land, and the challenges presented by its sustainable management, to illustrate these themes - from the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, North Norfolk coast and the Cambrian Mountains. These demonstrate that cultural assumptions concerning the value of common land have changed across the centuries, with profound consequences for the law, land management, the legal expression of concepts of 'property' and the exercise of common rights. The 'stakeholders' of today are the inheritors of this complex cultural legacy, and must negotiate diverse and sometimes conflicting objectives in their pursuit of a potentially unifying goal: a secure future for the commons.

The book also has considerable contemporary relevance. It provides a timely contribution to discussions surrounding the implementation of the Commons Act of 2006. This Act has introduced a new legal framework for the governance of common land by self-regulating commons councils. The case studies set this this within the wider context of institutional scholarship on the governance principles for successful common pool resource management, and the rejection of the 'tragedy of the commons'.

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Chris Rodgers is Professor of Law at Newcastle University, UK. His publications include Agricultural Law (3rd edition 2008), three edited collections on nature conservation and land use law, and numerous articles on agriculture and environmental law in the legal journals. He is Editor in Chief of the Environmental Law Review.

Eleanor Straughton is Research Associate in the Department of History, Lancaster University, UK. Her doctoral research on the more recent history of common land management was published as Common Grazing in the Northern English Uplands 1800-1965 (Lampeter, 2008).

Angus Winchester is Senior Lecturer in History at Lancaster University, UK. His publications include The Harvest of the Hills: rural life in northern England and the Scottish Borders, 1400-1700 (Edinburgh, 2000), a study of pre-modern hill farming on common land.

Margherita Pieraccini is lecturer in law at the University of Exeter, UK. She was formerly the project Doctoral Student on the AHRC Contested Commons research project at Newcastle University. She has published several articles on the environmental governance of the modern commons, in an Italian and English context.

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