UK: Farmers’ leaders welcome old public rights of way proposals

FARMERS’ leaders have welcomed proposals to modernise the law surrounding old public rights of way as “a step in the right direction”.

Natural England has launched a consultation to overhaul the current system in a bid to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy surrounding the time it takes to resolve any major issues. The proposed system is expected to save almost �20million as well as making it easier for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to protect unrecorded rights of way.

The new plans are expected to cut the time taken to record a right of way by as much as several years, so that routes set to be lost in 2026 can be preserved. All unrecorded footpaths and bridleways created before 1949 cannot be recorded after January 1 2026. The plans mean this ‘cut off’ date, by which to claim historical rights of way and set in the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000, should be brought into force.

National Farmers’ Union countryside adviser Claire Robinson said: “The NFU has been a partner in the Stakeholder Working Group on Unrecorded Rights of Way for a number of years and is pleased that, finally, plans have been unveiled that will reduce all of the needless red tape.

“For NFU members this consultation containing a package of proposals for reform is good news as it moves towards making the access rules easier to understand and an end to the unacceptable length of time it takes to resolve any rights of way issues. We also believe it’ll remove uncertainty for farmers and land owners around reclaiming unrecorded rights of way.”

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