Q&As

Who is responsible for maintenance of a public rights of way (bridleway) added to the definitive map as a result of a modification order?

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Published on LexisPSL on 29/05/2019

The following Local Government Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Who is responsible for maintenance of a public rights of way (bridleway) added to the definitive map as a result of a modification order?
  • What is the procedure for amending the definitive map?
  • If on review an amendment is made to add a new public right of way (PROW), who is liable for the maintenance of that PROW?
  • What is the division of responsibility between authorities?

Who is responsible for maintenance of a public rights of way (bridleway) added to the definitive map as a result of a modification order?

What is the procedure for amending the definitive map?

Every highway authority must keep a definitive map and statement (DMS) of the public rights of way (PROW) in its area. The DMS kept by any particular authority will be the ones it has started, in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA 1981):

  1. either under (now repealed) sections 32 or 33 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, or

  2. under WCA 1981, s 55

This DMS are in addition to and separate from the authority’s:

  1. list of highways maintainable at the public expense

  2. register of maps, statements and declarations relating to land over which the owner denies dedicating any PROW

For further guidance, see Practice Note: Definitive map and modification orders.

Parts of the network of PROW are ever-changing. New public rights appear and old ones are obliterated or diverted. Although the function of the DMS are to define the public rights and their route, and although most PROW are defined clearly enough and are unchanging for decades at a time, in the case of some routes, the keepers of the DMS are bound to be trying constantly to catch up with new routes becoming available and with old routes being

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