National Gathering in Sheffield and Peak District walk – 18/19th August 2018

National gathering

Come to Land Justice Network’s next national gathering to find out what the we’ve all been up to and plot fresh action together!

It will take place on Saturday 18th August at Heeley City Farm, Richards Road, Sheffield, S2 3DT.

We’ll meet up 12 noon for a shared pot luck (bring a dish if you can) and we’ll start the meeting around 12.30, finishing 5pm with optional social time at a nearby pub afterwards. The venue is fully accessible for wheelchairs.

The gathering will include a visit to REACH Homes a project based at the farm which has designed genuinely affordable homes for £35k.

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Peak District walk

On Sunday 19th all are welcome to join us for a walk in the Peak District – we are hoping to meet some of those affected by the recent fires on Saddleworth Moor, connected to the mismanagement of moors for grouse shooting.

We are also inviting along Hebden Bridge residents who were badly affected by the flooding a few years back… also connecting to mismanagement of land for grouse.

If you are interested in coming for both days and need to sort somewhere to stay overnight on Saturday night, please drop us an email at landjusticeuk@gmail.com as we may be able to help.

Please also get in touch if you are able to offer a lift and/or particularly need support with travel costs or a creche for your child on the Saturday.

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Hello from our new network coordinator

Hello everyone,

My name is Kate and I am very excited to be on board as the new LJN network co-ordinator – thank you so much for collectively offering me this position. I’m really looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible over the next few months whether at the Sheffield meeting on the 18th August or the next gathering (tbd).

My background is in anthropology, activism and environmental youth work, and I am also a singer and musician. I have been involved in land and privatisation related struggles for the last six years as part of Occupy Parliament Square, Reclaim the Power, the Divestment and anti TTIP movements, with my local labour party and as a researcher with The Gaia Foundation.

Over the last three years, I have been managing a youth charity and been really inspired by young people’s engagement with new forms of community, and ways of using land. It has confirmed to me how captivating land justice can be, and how fantastic it is that this movement is emerging. I currently live in a farmhouse in south Norfolk with a community other artists and activists, if anyone ever finds themselves out east needing a place to stay…

As I am new to the Land Justice Network, I know I have lots of learning to do and a world to get acquainted with. Over the next two months I would like to offer my facilitation and support to everyone in whatever ways are needed so if there is anything I can assist with, please don’t hesitate to send me an email.

I’m so inspired by what the LJN has achieved so far, by the emerging outreach work, and by the ways you are collectively bringing land into public discourse. I’m honoured to be supporting of all this work over the next few months and I’m looking forward to what’s to come. Thank you for inviting me in!

Anger at government plans to fast-track fracking applications

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/17/fast-track-fracking-plan-by-uk-government-prompts-criticism

By Joshua Doubek [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Ministers have recently revealed plans to classify fracking applications as Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. This would mean decisions regarding fracking applications would be made by government-appointed planning inspectors at a national level, instead of decisions at a local authority levels, essentially bypassing local involvement in fracking applications. Continue reading Anger at government plans to fast-track fracking applications

Using Blockchain technology to improve land registry in India

http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/blog/2018/Using-blockchain-to-make-land-registry-more-reliable-in-India.html

IT specialists are investigating how Blockchain technology can be used to make the land registry in India more reliable and accountable.  Blockchain technology allows information ‘to be distributed but not copied‘, creating platforms for sharing information that cannot be hacked.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The project, a collaboration between the Blockchain Learning Group and the United Nations Development Programme, is currently in the process of creating a land registry in the city Panchkula, in the state of Haryana. By creating accountable and accessible land registries, Blockchain technologies can provide transparent and secure information about land ownership in areas where there is otherwise limited knowledge about ownership, empowering citizens.

Blockchain is being viewed as a way to minimise corruption in the Land Registry not only in India but in western Europe too.

 

 

Land Justice Network is recruiting a coordinator

Job Description

Time: 40 hours per month, one year contract subject to 2 month probationary period

Pay: £10 p/h (£11.45 p/h higher rate for London) – you will need to invoice as a self employed worker

Interview date will be Thursday 28th June in central London and we have a budget to cover some travel expenses from those coming from out of town.

Place of work: Remote working at home and networking events, some travel costs reimbursed

Reports to: Land Justice Network Coordinator Support Group with additional monthly updates for network members

Continue reading Land Justice Network is recruiting a coordinator

Report from our national gathering

On Sunday 15th April we held our national gathering at the Friends of the Earth offices in London.

This was the day after our buzzing and well-attended tour of London’s housing crisis, organised as part of our Week of Action for Land Justice. Many people at the meeting had organised or taken part in the tour, and celebrated its success long into the evening… I think Nick Hayes summed up the feeling in the room when he said “I’m so happy and tired I think I’m going to cry!”

Continue reading Report from our national gathering

Report from The Landlords’ Game

On Saturday 14th April, after a week of rain, on what felt like the first warm and sunny day of the year, just shy of a hundred people gathered in central London for the inaugural Land Justice Network Landlords’ Game guided walk.

The meet point and official start was Brown Hart Gardens, a POPS (privately owned public space) in the heart of Mayfair.

Continue reading Report from The Landlords’ Game

Mass trespass calling for land justice in the south west

On Sunday about 75 protesters travelled to the Bathurst Estate in Cirencester to participate in a mass trespass, calling for land Justice. Organised by groups including RisingUp and the Land Justice Network the protest included speeches, songs and  marching band.

Gail Bradbrook of RisingUp said afterwards:

[Lord Bathurst] watched on with family and game keepers bemusedly / slightly chewing a wasp at times – but we got a good balance of friendliness and calling out behaviours that need to change I think. It was quite a spectacle!

The protesters marched down the main avenue into the estate and then went to a private field and climbed the fence to surround a tree on the land. A banner was raised over the main road leading into Cirencester saying “No Justice Without Land Justice”.

The trespass was to demonstrate that land is an essential resource that our society, culture and economy depend upon. However, land ownership in Britain is still one of the most unequal in the world. 0.6% of the population owns 69% of the land. More than a third is still owned by the aristocracy whose ancestors seized it during the Norman Conquest and through the use of land trusts they are avoiding paying inheritance tax while maintaining the concentration of ownership to this day. During the enclosures our ancestors were violently thrown off the land and much of our current common land is being privatised (Cahill, 2001).

Peaceful civil disobedience can be a useful tool in changing things for the better. Mass trespasses have achieved successes in the past, such as at Kinder Scout, which celebrated its 86th anniversary on the same day and helped to provide bring about the right to roam.

Simon Bramwell, from RisingUp in Stroud, said:

It’s especially relevant to undertake a civil disobedience on the Bathurst Estate, much of which is owned offshore while the owner receives vast subsidies from taxpayers. Some of the land is being sold off for mostly unaffordable housing. It’s totally illustrative how there is one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us.

Katharine Hallewell of the Land Justice Network added:

Everything flows from the land, our well being, our freedom and our equality. That we are still living under a system of landownership handed down from the Norman conquests speaks volumes about our so called democracy.

The trespass was reported on BBC Radio Gloucester and there has been much discussion and sharing on social media since, including the Lady Bathurst getting stuck in!

You can watch an unedited video of the day here. Guest blog by Gail to follow.

Source: Who Owns Britain, Kevin Cahill, 2001.

 

Adapted from a press release by Gail Bradbrook of RisingUp.

Have your say on powers for dealing with unauthorised development and encampments

The government is concerned about the damage caused by people who occupy land without consent of the owners.

They have opened a consultation in which they mention camps used by Traveller communities. Through the consultation, which closes Friday 15th June 2018, they want to hear your views on existing legal powers that can be used in the case of unlawful camps, and to discuss whether new powers are needed.

Photo: Ferdia Earle

Why does this matter?

If the government introduce new criminal penalties for people who occupy land without the consent of the owner, this will potentially have a harsh and unfair effect on Traveller communities. Many other people (for example homeless persons and political activists) could also be impacted by any change in the law. It is really important that the government hear from as many people as possible from all parts of the community. You do NOT need to know in detail about the law to give your views.

What does the consultation cover?

The government are looking for people’s views on the following issues. You do not need to have an opinion on every part of the consultation. The questions are framed around the idea that camps and occupations are a problem, but you do not have to agree with this to respond to the consultation.

  • What do you know about occupations and camps in your area that happen without consent of the owners? What are your views on the situation in your area?
  • What involvement do the police have when people occupy land without consent? Do you think that the police should have more powers?
  • Do local authorities need more powers to force people to leave land?
  • Should the police have more powers to require people to leave land that they are occupying?
  • Should there be a new criminal offence that can be used where people camp on land without the consent of the owner?
  • How can local authorities make more use of legal orders called injunctions to prevent people occupying land without consent?
  • How can local authorities, police and local communities work together to prevent problems that might be caused by camps and occupations?
  • Could court action to evict occupiers be made to happen more quickly?
  • Should a special quick court process called an Interim Possession Order apply to camps on open land?
  • How can planning controls be used to deal with camps and occupations?
  • Should the government produce new a new policy on camps and occupations?
  • What is stopping local authorities from providing more sites that Travellers can use?
  • What impact might any changes in law and policy have on travelling communities?
  • Do you have any other comments related to camps and occupations?

How can I get involved?

Anyone can let the government know their views via the consultation weblink (https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NW6G3YD). You do not have to answer every question.

You can also email your thoughts to landjusticeuk@gmail.com and we will try to put together a response on behalf of the network.

The consultation closes on Friday 15th June 2018. If you would like to be part of the land justice network response, please contact landjusticeuk@gmail.com before Friday 25th May 2018.

~ Dr Bonnie Holligan, lecturer in property law at the University of Sussex