Commission has launched a consultation on proposed new law which would create
Commission will explore different scenarios where conservation covenants could
be used. An example given in the consultation paper is where a heritage
group have invested funds in buying and restoring a Victorian House. They
want to sell the land but ensure that the work carried out and heritage value
of the property is preserved.
Commission states that this project emerged from the consultation on easements,
covenants and profits à prendre and the National Trust's believe that a special
status of covenants should be created in order to protect cultural and natural
heritage. One of the key features of conservation covenants is that they
arise from a desire to achieve long term conservation objectives by using
private rights to benefit the public interest.
proportion of important conservation land and heritage sites in England and
Wales remain unprotected. The Law Commission recognises that conservation and
the need for more housing and office development may conflict but the hope is
that conservation covenants will facilitate responsible and sustainable
conservation covenant will be a voluntary arrangement between a landowner and a
conservation organisation or public body to do or not to do something on their
land for a conservation purpose. Currently conservation charities or
organisations have to purchase land in order to ensure the conservation aspect
of that land is protected. Instead, they will be able to negotiate a
conservation covenant with the landowner. A conservation covenant will be
binding on all future landowners as it will run with the land.
a new statutory scheme of conservation covenants include:
would be able to create a conservation covenant;
a conservation covenant can be modified or discharged
role of the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal in adjudicating disputes
should be responsible for managing and enforcing the obligations under a
of course the legal nature of a conservation covenant, requirements for its
creation and registration.
is a need to protect our heritage and conservation areas and this may be a
workable solution provided it takes into account existing rights over land.
consultation closes on 21 June 2013 when the Law Commission will present its
recommendations to the Government.
by Clare Greig, Chartered Legal Executive