Defra has today launched a consultation on reforming public rights of way.
They are seeking views on a proposed package of changes to the processes for recording, diverting and extinguishing public rights of way.
The consultation covers England only, and is likely to be of interest to all people who have an interest in public rights of way, including landowners, local authorities, rights of way user representative bodies, and conservation bodies.
Public rights of way remain the main way of gaining access to the countryside. A process to try and record the many thousands of rights of way so they didn’t become lost forever began in 1949, but it proved so difficult it was never completed.
How to reconcile the many historic rights of way with current land uses is a main focus of this consultation, together with how changes to the rights of way network could be better integrated into the planning process in the light of the Penfold Review.
The consultation also looks at the possible survival of rights of way beyond the 2026 cut-off date introduced by the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.
The consultation document contains a useful summary of rights of way history and law.
The consultation runs for 12 weeks, ending on 6 August 2012.
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