A new commons council which will manage and protect 60,000 hectares of common land across Cumbria and Northumberland is close to being established.
Commoners managing the land have been working with the landowners, Defra and Natural England to get the council up and running.
It will be the third of its kind in England, following in the footsteps of Brendon Hills in Devon and Bodmin Moor in Cornwall.
Commoners and landowners will elect council members to make binding rules on issues such as exercising of rights of common, unlawful boundaries and removing unlawfully grazing animals.
It is hoped these legally binding rules will help where commoners, landowners and others cannot agree about how to manage land.
Viv Lewis, secretary at the Federation of Cumbria Commoners, said: “It has been a long process to get to this stage, but that is no bad thing as we have learnt as we have gone along.
“We are now in a much stronger position to make the council a success and work for all.”
The federation is continuing to work with Defra to finalise the establishment order which will set out exactly how the council will be run.
The Government will then publish the draft establishment order on Defra’s consultation hub website to seek the public’s views.
If there are no objections, the order will be presented to parliament before the summer recess and it will come into force in the autumn.