The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 required local authorities to produce maps and statements of their areas showing public footpaths, public bridleways and roads used as public paths (RUPPs). Section 35(4) of the 1949 Act allowed the surveying authority to exclude from the survey any part of its area that appeared to the authority to be already so fully developed that it would be inexpedient to include it. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 overhauled the procedure for reviewing the definitive map and statement and removed the requirement for periodic reviews and replaced it with an obligation to keep the map and statement under continuous review. It also reversed (other than for inner London boroughs) the 1949 provision for urban areas to exclude footpaths out of the survey.
Under Section 55(3) of the 1981 Act, local authorities were required to survey and prepare maps and statements for public footpaths, bridleways and RUPPs that were previously excluded under the 1949 Act, such that when they have been identified in accordance with the provisions of this Part, they will serve as the definitive map and statement for that area. The deadline for completing this work is 2026.
Medway Council began surveying the excluded areas, building up on a path by path basis for each of the 3 excluded areas of Gillingham, Chatham and Rochester. The project commenced in 2008 and concluded in March 2014 with all identified paths being processed through individual definitive map modification orders and legal orders.
Locations of the identified footpaths that now form part of the definitive map and statement can be viewed below: