Chwilio Deddfwriaeth

Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

Sections 66 to 72: Miscellaneous, including road traffic, vehicular access across common land and stiles.

150.Section 66 amends the provisions in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 (“the 1984 Act”) governing the circumstances in which traffic authorities may make traffic regulation orders.

151.Section 22 of the 1984 Act gives traffic authorities a power to regulate traffic for the purpose of conserving or enhancing the natural beauty of the area, or of affording better opportunities for the public to enjoy the amenities of the area. The power is restricted to roads in England and Wales which are both outside Greater London and in or near certain designated areas, for example National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Section 66 ensures that the power will apply similarly in respect of areas designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and brings Greater London within the scope of the provision.

152.Section 66 also inserts a new section 22A into the 1984 Act. The new section enables traffic authorities to make orders to control vehicular traffic on unclassified roads and byways throughout England and Wales for the purposes of conserving or enhancing the natural beauty of the area. It is made explicit that "conservation of natural beauty" in the context of both section 22 and the new section 22A, includes the conservation of flora, fauna and physical features of the landscape.

153.Section 67 introduces Schedule 7. Paragraph 5 of Schedule 7 substitutes a new section 34 in the Road Traffic Act 1988. Section 34 currently prohibits the driving of motor vehicles, without lawful authority, elsewhere than on roads. The offence in section 34 is extended to cover mechanically propelled vehicles which currently may not fall within the definition of "motor vehicle", to which the current offence relates, because they may not be intended or adapted for use on roads. The offence does not apply to invalid carriages, mechanically propelled vehicles controlled by pedestrians used for cutting grass and electrically assisted pedal cycles.

154.Under section 34(1)(b) it is an offence to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle on a footpath or bridleway. This offence is extended to the new category of right of way, restricted byways. The recording of a way on a definitive map as a footpath, bridleway, or restricted byway does not mean that higher rights might not exist over the way in question. Subsection (2) of the new section 34 provides that where a way is shown on a definitive map as a footpath, bridleway, or restricted byway, then it is presumed to carry only the rights attaching to ways of that kind unless the contrary is proved (but this is subject to section 34A).

155.Paragraph 6 of Schedule 7 inserts a new section 34A into the Road Traffic Act 1988. By making the presumption in section 34(2) rebuttable only in certain circumstances, this new section means that, except where those circumstances apply or the defences in section 34 are made out, the offence under section 34(1)(b) is committed where the way being driven on is shown in a definitive map as a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway. The circumstances set out in section 34A are where the defendant proves to the satisfaction of the court that he was a person with an interest in any land or was a lawful visitor to any land and that the driving was reasonably necessary for him to obtain access to that land; or that it was reasonably necessary for him to drive the vehicle for the purposes of any business, trade or profession. The Secretary of State may make regulations prescribing other circumstances where the presumption under section 34(2) can be rebutted.

156.Section 68 provides that where a person has used an access to property across land on which it is an offence to drive, regulations may provide for the creation of a statutory easement, providing certain qualifying criteria are met. The regulations would deal with issues such as the criteria to be met in order to apply; the compensation to be paid by the property owner; how the application for the easement must be made; the conditions to which the easement will be subject; dispute resolution procedures and how the easement will be recorded by the Land Registry.

157.Section 69 amends section 147 of the Highways Act 1980 so that local authorities, when authorising the erection of new stiles, gates or other works on footpaths or bridleways, must have regard to the needs of people with mobility problems. It provides for the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales to issue guidance on how the powers to authorise works are to be exercised. It also inserts new section 147ZA into the 1980 Act.

158.New section 147ZA enables local authorities and certain other councils to enter into agreements with owners, lessees or occupiers of land to replace or alter existing gates and other stockproof structures on footpaths and bridleways to make them safer or more convenient for people with mobility problems.

159.Subsection (1) allows for agreements to provide for the owner, lessee, or occupier to carry out the work with the authority paying part or all of the costs, or for the authority to do the work with the owner etc contributing to or meeting the costs.

160.Subsection (5) provides that where an agreement has been entered into it replaces, and thereby extinguishes, the previous authorisations on a date to be specified in the agreement or failing that 12 months from the date of the agreement.

161.Subsection (9) requires the relevant authority, when exercising their powers under new section 147ZA, to have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales.

162.Section 70 amends section 66(3) of the Highways Act 1980 which enables highway authorities to provide and maintain barriers, rails and fences in footpaths to safeguard the public. The amendment to section 66(3) allows authorities to provide posts as well, and extends section 66(3) to apply to bridleways that are maintainable at the public expense. Section 70 also amends section 134 of the 1980 Act, to enable any person to bring a prosecution for the offence under section 134(4) of failing to restore a ploughed footpath or bridleway.

163.In addition, section 70 amends section 300 of the Highways Act 1980 and section 21(2)(b) of the Road Traffic Act 1988. Sections 300 and 21(2)(b) provide protection to highway authorities when exercising certain highways functions against prohibitions relating to the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on footpaths, bridleways and cycle tracks. Section 70 clarifies that this protection extends to the functions of preventing or removing obstructions from highways and the prevention or abatement of other interferences.

164.Section 71 empowers the Secretary of State and the National Assembly for Wales to make regulations requiring local highway authorities to publish reports on the performance of their functions relating to rights of way. An example might be a report on the implementation of its rights of way improvement plans. The regulations may prescribe what the reports should cover and how they should be published.

165.Section 72 defines various terms used in Part II of the Act.

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