Recording, Changing and Closing
The Definitive Map and Statement can be changed by adding an unrecorded Public Right of Way, the upgrading, downgrading or removal of a Public Right of Way, or by the diversion of an existing Public Right of Way. It is also possible to create new Public Rights of Way and also extinguish existing ones.
Changes to the Definitive Map and Statement are made by Legal events following statutory procedures set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Highways Act 1980 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, which regulate the making of such Orders.
Orders to modify the Definitive Map and Statement to add unrecorded Public Rights of Way or upgrade, downgrade the status or remove an existing Public Right of Way, based on evidence that there is an omission or error on the Map are called Definitive Map Modification Orders. Orders to modify the Definitive Map and Statement by diverting or extinguishing an existing Public Right of Way, or creating a new Public Right of Way are called Public Path Orders.
The legislation covering Definitive Map Modification Orders is Section 53 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
Public Path Orders
The council has the power to authorise the making of Public Path Orders to divert, create or extinguish (Stop Up) Public Rights of Way.
The council will consider an application to divert a Public Right of Way if it is satisfied that:
- the proposed diversion is in the interests of either the public or the landowner or occupier of the land
- the diverted route must not be substantially less convenient to use as the existing route
- a diversion will not result in a negative effect on public enjoyment.
These preconditions are set out in details in Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980.
The Council will consider an application to extinguish a Public Right of Way if it is satisfied that the path is not needed for public use.
The preconditions are set out in detail in Section 118 of the Highways Act 1980.
The Council will consider an application to create a Public Right of Way if there is a need for the new path. The Council must also be satisfied that the new path would add to the convenience or enjoyment for a substantial number of users or local residents.
The preconditions are set out in detail in Section 26 of the Highways Act 1980.
Creating a New Public Right of Way
Landowners, including developers, Parish or District Councils can also create a new Public Right of Way by entering into a Creation Agreement with the council. Owners can use a Creation Agreement to create a new Public Right of Way across their land or to access their development.
Before entering into an Agreement with the landowners, the Council will require proof of actual land ownership and will also need to consider how the proposed route will add to the convenience or enjoyment of the public.
Creation Agreements are different from Creation Orders in that no public consultation is required to create a new route by agreement, whereas a Creation Order follows the same consultation procedures as a Diversion or Extinguishment Order. The relevant legislation covering Creation Agreements is Section 25 of the Highways Act 1980.
Public Rights of Way should be open and available for public use at all times, however it may be necessary, in the interests of public safety, to formally close a Public Right of Way for a limited period of time to allow works that disturb the surface of a path, or works next to a Public Right of Way to be carried out.
A Public Right of Way must not be closed for public use in anyway without the council's consent. If it is necessary to close a Public Right of Way temporarily, the council must be consulted and the correct statutory procedure followed. The relevant legislation covering Temporary Closures is Section 14(1) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (as amended).
Planning and Rights of Way
Planning permission does not alter any Public Rights of Way crossing land. If a path needs to be diverted or extinguished for development to take place, a Legal Order must be made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 before development is completed.
Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)
These Orders may be used to prohibit certain kinds of traffic from Public Rights of Way which is considered unsuitable or inappropriate, such as prohibiting motorised vehicles from a Byway Open to All Traffic so as to prevent damage to the surface of the route. The relevant legislation governing TROs is Section 1 and 2 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
Download the guide for diversion extinguishments of public rights of way.