Obstructions On Rights Of Way: Removal Process Is Tightened
provisions for removing obstructions from public rights of way are
outlined by Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael in guidance for
local authorities, published today.
guidance has been prepared in the light of legislative changes under
the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, which will require local
authorities to ensure obstructions are cleared within a set timescale.
Keeping rights of way clear of obstructions which interfere with
the public's use and enjoyment has always been the responsibility
of local authorities, but this is the first time a limit has been
put on the window in which they must act. If they fail to comply,
a magistrate's court order can now be served, compelling them to
network of public rights of way is not only an important resource
for leisure and recreation. For many people it provides vital support
routes for everyday activities.
public has the right to enjoy these routes unimpeded, but in the
past the success of the system for dealing with obstructions has
depended entirely on the disposition of the local authority concerned.
It is understandable that without an incentive to deal with cases
promptly timescales can slip.
changes we have made to this system will give new confidence that
the inconvenience caused by obstructed rights of way will be minimised."
the provisions, any member of the public encountering certain types
of obstruction can serve a notice on the local highway authority,
requesting that it act to have the obstruction removed. The authority
will then have a month in which to serve notice of its own on the
party who appears to be responsible, stating what action if any
it proposes taking.
the obstruction hasn't been removed within two months of the original
notice, the complainant can apply to a magistrates' court for an
order, requiring the authority to take specified steps to remove
of the guidance to accompany the Statutory Instrument, which includes
the forms of notices prescribed in these regulations, have been
sent to local authorities today. Further copies of the guidance
are available from Admail 6000, London SW1A 2XX 08459 556000 (quote
reference PB 9193). The guidance, forms and a summary of the consultation
exercise are also available online at www.defra.gov.uk/wildlife-countryside/index.htm
Issued by : DEFRA Press Office