Statement and declaration

Under section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 statements and declarations can be submitted to the County Council by landowners. The process enables landowners to formally acknowledge public rights of way across their land and, in doing so, create a presumption that they have no intention to dedicate any further public rights of way across that land.

A landowner may at any time, deposit a statement and plan, indicating any ways over their land that have been dedicated as public rights of way. Submissions under the 1980 Act do not protect a landowner from claims which can establish 20 years uninterrupted use prior to the date of submission, or which are based on documentary evidence. However, the deposit of a statement and plan does stop time running forward for the acquisition of public rights by usage, and constitutes an effective challenge for future claims.

A register of statements and declarations is maintained by Suffolk County Council and can be viewed online, please follow this link to the Highways Act 1980 S31(6) Register  

Statements, plans and declarations can be viewed, free of charge, by prior arrangement with the Rights of Way and Access Team at Endeavour House (email: Definitive.Maps@suffolk.gov.uk telephone: 01473 264774) or at Ipswich Records Office, Gatacre Road (email: ipswich.ro@suffolk.gov.uk telephone: 01473 263909). Copies of statements, plans and declarations can be obtained from Endeavour House with a fee payable dependent on document size.

A paper copy of the register is held by Suffolk County Council at Rights of Way and Access, Endeavour House, Russell Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 2BX.

Please follow this link to our landowner guidance. The section 31(6) application form is available in two formats. If you require a form that can be printed out and filled in by hand please follow this link. If you require a form that can be downloaded and filled in electronically electronically please follow this link. For detailed guidance from DEFRA on completing the application form please follow this link.

The Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013, introduced on 1 October 2013, allows the County Council to charge a fee to recover the costs of processing an application. The fees are set out below. Please note that applications will not be processed without payment of the appropriate fee. From 1 December 2016 the legislation has been changed to remove the previous requirement to post notices on site for Highways Act 1980 section 31(6) landowner deposits. The fees have therefore been reduced to reflect this change.

  1. Processing an application for a Highways statement and map to be added to the Statutory Register of deposits on the county council website £200*.
  2. Processing the declaration to confirm and renew a Highways statement and map £200*.
  3. If you choose to submit a declaration within one year of submitting the initial statement and map and there have been no changes since the original deposit was submitted, the fee for processing the declaration will be reduced to £75*.

(*The County Council reserves the right to increase the fee for extensive land holdings or deposits consisting of multiple plans)

The 2013 Act also enables landowners to make a landowner statement under section 15A(1) of the Commons Act 2006, to bring to an end any period of recreational use ‘as of right’ over the land, which could give rise to a claim for a village green. Please note that an additional fee is charged for this. For further advice please contact the Commons Registration Officer: http://publicrightsofway.onesuffolk.net/open-access-in-suffolk/commons-and-village-greens-advice/ 

This link will open the statutory instrument that introduced the 2013 changes.