Making changes to the public rights of way network

Suffolk County Council and your local district or borough council have powers to make a variety of public path orders and to make public path creation agreements. Most of the orders are made by the district and borough councils and are funded by the applicants.

A council usually carries out an informal consultation before deciding whether to make a public path order or a definitve map modification order. The criteria to be met are restrictive and, due to the public nature of the process, it is not possible for a change to happen quickly. If a council makes an order to which a public objection is received it can only proceed with the order by referring it to The Planning Inspectorate for determination. This may mean that a public inquiry is held.

More detail on the process of changing public rights of way can be found in Natural England's publication NE112 - A guide to definitive maps and changes to public rights of way.

If you want more information about making an application for a definitive map modification order visit our Application forms and guidance notes page.

If you want more advice or information about changing a footpath or bridleway then contact your local District or Borough Council or visit our Public Path Orders FAQs page.

To see copies of public path orders and definitive map modification orders which have been made but not yet implemented visit our Public notices about legal orders page. (Note that orders may, or may not, be confirmed if objections are received).

Public Path Orders

The most common Orders are:

 

A local authority can also enter into an agreement to create a new route with anyone having the capacity to dedicate a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway. This is known as a Public Path Creation Agreement




 

Public Path Diversion Orders

These use a Council's power under s119 of the Highways Act 1980. Before making an order a council needs to be satisfied that it is in the interests of the owner/occupier of the land and/or of the public for the footpath, bridleway or restricted byway to be diverted. It also needs to be satisfied that the proposed route will not be substantially less convenient for the public to use than the existing route. A council also has to consider the effect of the diversion on public enjoyment of the route as a whole, on other land served by the existing route, and on the land (and any land held with it) where the new route is created. A council also has to have due regard to the needs of agriculture (including the breeding or keeping of horses), forestry and the desirability of conserving nature.

Councils also have powers to make Public Path Diversion Orders under s257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. A council uses this power if it is satisfied that it is necessary for a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway to be diverted in order to enable development to be carried out in accordance with planning permission granted by that council. The disadvantages or loss likely to arise to users of the route as a result of the change also has to be considered by that council. It should not be assumed that an order will be made simply because planning permission has been granted.

Back to top

 

Public Path Extinguishment Orders

These use a council's power under s118 of the Highways Act 1980. Before making an order a council needs to be satisfied that the footpath, bridleway or restricted byway concerned is not needed for public use. It also needs to take into account what the likely use of the footpath, bridleway or restricted byway would be if an order was not made, and also the effect the change would have on the land the route currently crosses. The council also has to have due regard to the needs of agriculture (including the breeding and keeping of horses), forestry and the desirability of conserving nature.

For the purposes of an extinguishment order any obstruction on the route must be disregarded.

If an extinguishment order is made at the same time as a creation order or creation agreement or diversion order, the council can consider the extent to which the creation or diversion would provide an alternative route for the one being extinguished.

Councils also have powers to make Public Path Stopping Up Orders under s257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. A council uses this power if it is satisfied that it is necessary for the footpath, bridleway or restricted byway to be stopped up in order to enable development to be carried out in accordance with planning permission granted by the council. The disadvantages or loss likely to arise to users of the route as a result of the change is also a factor to be considered by the council. It should not be assumed that an order will be made simply because planning permission has been granted.

Back to top

 

Public Path Creation Orders

These use a council’s power under s26 of the Highways Act 1980. Before making an order to create a new footpath, bridleway or restricted byway it must appear to the council that there is a need for the new footpath, bridleway or restricted byway and the council must be satisfied that it is expedient to create it having regard to the extent to which it would add to the convenience or enjoyment of a substantial section of the public or of local residents and the effect that the creation would have on the rights of those with an interest in the land, taking into account the provisions for compensation.

 

Public Path Creation Agreements

These use a council's power under s25 of the Highways Act 1980 to enter into an agreement for the dedication of a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway. A council will require anyone dedicating a new route by a creation agreement to show that they do have power to do so. This usually means supplying proof of ownership of the land in question.

Back to top