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Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

Sections 15 and 16: Access under other enactments and by dedication

31.Section 15 specifies the categories of land to be treated as accessible to the public (under other enactments) for the purposes of excluding the operation of the statutory right of access under section 2(1). It also extends the provision of any local or private enactment, or scheme made under the Commons Act 1899, which grants rights of access for open-air recreation to the inhabitants of a neighbourhood, so that they may be exercised by the public generally. (Such limited rights in particular arise under schemes made under the Commons Acts 1876 and 1899, and under local Acts of Parliament.)

32.Section 16 allows the owner of land to dedicate the land for the purposes of this Part of the Act, so that it is treated as access land for the purposes of the general right of access under section 2(1). Such dedications are irrevocable, although land which has been dedicated under this section may nevertheless become excepted land. The owner of a lease with an unexpired term of at least 90 years may (by virtue of subsections (1) and (4)) dedicate the land for the duration of the lease. The person dedicating the land may provide that any of the restrictions set out in Schedule 2 should be relaxed or removed, so that, for example, people may exercise the right of access on horseback. The dedication may be subsequently amended in order to exclude or relax further restrictions, but not so as to reimpose any restrictions. Land may be dedicated under this section even if it would otherwise be access land (because it is open country or registered common land). This will allow the person dedicating the land to lift any of the restrictions set out in Schedule 2, and dedication will ensure that the land remains access land even if it ceases to be open country or registered common land (unless it becomes excepted land). Subsections (2) and (6) allow the Secretary of State (or the National Assembly for Wales) to make regulations, including regulations prescribing the form of dedication, requiring its notification to the appropriate countryside body and the access authority, and making provision for the dedication of land where interests are held in the land other than by the owner of the fee simple.

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