New public rights of way can come in to existence through public use and local Councils have a duty to investigate claims to make additional public rights of way.
As part of this application process, one of the first questions asked by the local Council, is whether the land owner has taken the sufficient action to make it clear to the public that they have no right to cross their land.
The best way of doing this is under Section 31 (6) of the Highways Act 1980 Landowners, to make clear of their intentions by submitting a statement that shows any footpaths, bridleways or byways that are public.
This statement needs to be renewed every 6 years and will give a land owner a way of protecting their property whilst still allowing for public access that is on the definitive map.
Carys Studley of Rostons comments, that “by making a declaration and continuing to renew every 6 years, will prevent any future establishment of any new public right of way. An applicant must be careful however, she also comments that not to deny any existence of any current public right of way shown on the definitive map, nor can a statement be able to be done retrospectively after a modification order notice served.”
If you have any concerns that a public claim may be made for additional public routes, please contact Carys at Rostons. Rostons are in the process of carrying out this declaration for a number of land owners to their local authority.
For further information contact the Rostons office on 01829 773000