Changes afoot for public rights of way
tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Sat Jun 23 21:00:23 BST 2012
Changes afoot for public rights of way
May 15, 2012 | Filed under: News | Posted by: Editor
New proposals to modernise the process of
recording rights of way, developed in
consultation with groups such as the Ramblers and
Country Land and Business Association, have been
unveiled by Environment Minister, Richard Benyon.
Plans are expected to cut the time taken to
record a right of way by as much as several
years, so that routes set to be lost in 2026 can
be preserved. All unrecorded footpaths and
bridleways created before 1949 cannot be recorded
after 1 January 2026. This cut off date by
which to claim these historical rights of way was
set in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
As well as making it easier for walkers, horse
riders and cyclists to protect unrecorded rights
of way, the proposed system is expected to save
almost £20 million a year by cutting needless bureaucracy.
No changes are being made to the protections for
rights of way; rather proposals have been made to
make the process of recording or changing them more efficient.
Landowners applications to move a right of way
will continue to be approved only if they do not
affect the publics enjoyment of it, in which
case it will be more straightforward for landowners to see them through.
Under logical new plans, paths and trails that
are used by the public will be easier to protect,
whilst redundant routes and unsubstantiated
rights of way claims will be prevented from
getting in the way of farming and business interests.
Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said:
Footpaths, bridleways and trails are the
life-blood for many rural communities, providing
access to our world-renowned landscapes. Our
changes will help protect access for the
thousands of people who walk, ride and cycle in the countryside every week.
Protecting and improving access to the
countryside is the latest in a programme of
Government measures to grow the rural economy.
These routes have huge benefits to the health and
wellbeing of those that use them and can help
stimulate the local economy, bringing in more visitors to enjoy rural areas.
A £2 million grant fund has opened for
applications from local communities today to
improve access to rural areas in ways that will grow the regional economy.
The Paths for Communities initiative is part of
the Governments £165 million Rural Economy
Growth Review announced in November 2011. Local
volunteer groups are invited to bid for funding
to create new rights of way or increase the
accessibility of existing ones. This may include
making rights of way accessible for horses and
bikes, improving way marking, creating maps and
making better links with local transport services and tourist destinations.
The proposals in the rights of way consultation
are based on recommendations from a Stakeholder
Working Group, which issued the following statement:
We welcome this consultation package, which
builds on the Stakeholder Working Group
recommendations, and are keen to continue to work
constructively with the Government throughout the
consultation and implementation process.
Andrew Willoughby of the Harrogate and
Knaresborough ramblers associated commented:
As Ramblers footpath secretary for Harrogate and
Knaresborough I will now have to study this legislation in detail.
But legislation is not the problem. There are big
problems with public rights of way, and we need
action to improve the thousands of paths
obstructed by fences, crops and lots of other obstructions.
Putting time and money into this legislation does
not overcome the real problem of obstructed
paths, which is due to a lack of commitment and
funds at County Council level, not due to legislation.
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