Rights of Way: Islands

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered am ar 8 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Baroness Jones of Moulsecoomb Green

To ask His Majesty's Government why Natural England has not used its power to apply to the Secretary of State for creation orders to be made to create rights of way to inaccessible islands of public access land, under section 58 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

Photo of Lord Benyon Lord Benyon The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

By default, the power to create new public rights of way to reach open access land sits with local highway and access authorities, for use in any particular case where they consider there is a need for such a way and that making an order is expedient. The local authority is normally best placed to make these judgements in the light of all the local circumstances on the ground. We are aware though that the original mapping exercise under the 2000 Act focused on capturing areas as open country or registered common land, rather than on whether there was any legal way for members of the public to reach mapped areas in order to enjoy open-air recreation on them. We also recognised in a previous answer on 17 January that not all downland was mapped satisfactorily under the original exercise, and it appears that inaccessible ‘islands’ occur especially on that land type at present. Natural England will consider both issues when reviewing the open access maps. We have committed to ensuring that these are reviewed by the statutory deadline of 1 January 2031.

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