Rights of way must be more efficient for landowners

01 August 2012

The CLA has told the Government it can only support the reform of public rights of way if the proposals are made more efficient for landowners.

The Association said Defra's proposed improvements to the policy and legal framework for public rights of way, out for consultation until 6 August, should be about making the process more efficient to benefit both landowners and users. 

CLA North Regional Director Dorothy Fairburn said: "Reform of rights of way is desperately needed but the Government must address the unfairness of the current system if the CLA is to continue to support reform.

"Farmers and landowners can face claims for footpaths and bridleways over their land that take many years and cost tens of thousands of pounds. Even after a claim has been fought and won, users can start the whole process again if they do not agree. This is unfair and a hugely inefficient process."

Miss Fairburn added: "If reform does go ahead, landowners need reassurance that the 2026 deadline for adding abandoned and unused paths to the definitive map will become a reality.

"We want the Government to take a practical look at the impact of discovering long-forgotten paths on present-day land use and respect a landowners' right to ask for a path to be diverted."