Rights of way must be more efficient for landowners, says CLA

29 October 2013

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 South East Regional Surveyor Tim Broomhead 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.

"Landowners can face claims for rights of way 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."

Mr Broomhead added: "If reform does go ahead, landowners need reassurance that the 2026 deadline for adding abandoned and unused paths to the definitive map will be 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."

The deadline for responses to the consultation on improvements to the policy and legal framework for public rights of way in England is Monday, 6 August 2012. Read Defra's proposed package of changes to the processes for recording, diverting and extinguishing public rights of way.