There are approximately 572.000 hectares of common land in England and Wales, most of which is privately owned. Much of it is used for agriculture but the land is also valued for its landscape and wildlife, with half of the commons being designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest. The Government issued a consultation paper about legislation relating to common land and village greens in 2000, which was followed by a Common Land Policy Statement in 2002, the establishment of a stakeholder working group and further consultation in 2003. This Act, which extends to England and Wales only, contains five parts and includes provisions for commons registration authorities to keep registers of commons and village greens; the establishment of commons councils with the power to protect and promote sustainable agriculture on common land and the provision of powers to protect common land and village greens.
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