Town and Village Greens (TVG): A Threat to Mining Operations

Applications to register town and village greens are increasingly becoming a tool of local residents and environmental groups in order to thwart new development, including mining operations. Minerals operations are at risk and minerals operators need to take steps now in order to avoid the sterilisation of mining areas as a result of successful village green applications being made.

What is a town or village green?

Anyone can apply to register land as a town or village green ("TVG") where a significant number of local residents have used the land for sports and pastimes for a period of at least 20 years. Such use must be without force, without secrecy and without permission.

The law in relation to TVGs is extremely complex and in a constant state of flux. Applications for the registration of TVGs are becoming the weapon of choice for local action groups seeking to protect land from development.

Why is this relevant to mine and mineral land owners?

The traditional image of a green is not accurate in the legal sense and increasingly successful registrations have occurred on grazing land, golf courses, ponds, rocks, car parks and football fields, amongst others.

Minerals operators and landlords should therefore take care to review their land to ensure that rights are not accruing which could potentially lead to a village green application being made.

The variety of land registered demonstrates that any open space is capable of being registered as a TVG. Quite often land which forms part of consented minerals workings is made accessible to the public pending the workings taking place. Such land could be susceptible to a village green application.

How can mine and mineral land owners protect their land?

A variety of measures can be put in place in order to minimise the potential for a successful village green application to be made. These include the...

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