On Tuesday 10th May 2011 a POPse! roundtable discussed whether a ‘right to manage’ would enable people to utilise local environmental assets such as woodlands and waterways to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits to for their communities.
The idea of a ‘community right to manage’ was proposed by The Waterways Project who described it as the ‘missing link’ in the Localism Bill sitting somewhere between the new community rights to ‘bid’ to purchase buildings and ‘challenge’ to run services.
POPse! provided the ideal setting to examine the proposal in more detail and ask ourselves whether a community right to manage could help deliver environmental localism.
You can see the full Roundtable write up here.
Thank you to all those who took part or contributed to the subsequent download discussion.
Our analysis of the roundtable discussion is that:
- The proposal for a ‘community right to manage’ for environmental assets fits well with the current government agendas of decentralisation and localism. It describes a mechanism not already delivered by current proposals such as the community rights to bid and to challenge. It has a direct precedent in the tenants ‘right to manage’ and provides an alternative to community asset ownership through purchase or transfer
- Rather than aim for a ‘right’ enshrined in legislation the proposal should be presented as a ‘presumption in favour’ of the utilisation of environmental assets by communities and delivered on a case by case base with different asset owners e.g. the proposed new waterways charity
- For different reasons Defra, its arms length bodies, large private landowners and the traditional conservation charities are unwilling to engage in public debate about environmental localism
- Environmental organisations who are considering how they localise their models of delivery and actively engage with communities are therefore working in silos with little sharing of learning and experience
- Despite the lack of debate there is an emerging body of practice both nationally and locally in the management and utilisation of environmental assets by social enterprise and community organisations
- In order to re-politicise the debate about land ownership and land use and a practical tool for communities seeking access to land and environmental assets there is a need for more transparent data on land ownership. Land registry data should be accessible, transparent and freely available
- Organisations actively engaged in delivering environmental localism should develop a coalition in order to share learning, provide peer support, critical analysis and debate regarding policy and practice in this area