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Deregulation Act 2015

Part 4: Highways Act 1980

664.Paragraph 8 of Schedule 7 makes the following amendments to Schedule 6 to the Highways Act 1980. That Schedule sets out the procedure that must be followed before certain “public path orders” are made under that Act, for example, an order extinguishing a public right of way.

665.Paragraphs 1 and 4A of Schedule 6 are amended so that the surveying authority are no longer required to give notice of the making of a public path order by publication in at least one local newspaper circulating in the area. Instead they are required to give notice by publication on the authority’s website and on such other websites or through the use of such other digital communications media as the authority may consider appropriate. This measure is intended to reduce the cost to the local authority of making an order and the cost to the landowner where the cost is passed on to the landowner because the order is for the landowner’s benefit.

666.Paragraph 2 of Schedule 6 is amended to enable:

a)

the surveying authority to decide not to submit an order that has attracted one or more representations or objections to the Secretary of State for confirmation if they believe that nothing in the representation or objection would be relevant in determining whether or not to confirm the order (the authority would have to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State and must inform the person who made the representation or objection of the reasons for its decision); and

b)

the Secretary of State to decide not to hold an inquiry or hearing if he believes that nothing in the grounds of the representation or objection would be relevant in determining whether or not to confirm the order.

667.In both cases the order may be confirmed by the surveying authorities as if it were an unopposed order. These measures are intended to reduce that number of instances where the Secretary of State has to review the authorities’ decisions, which would reduce the administrative burden on both local authorities and the Secretary of State.

668.A further amendment of paragraph 2 means that the Secretary of State may, instead of holding an inquiry or providing for a hearing, give a person who has made representations or an objection an opportunity of making representations (or further representations) to a person appointed for that purpose.

669.Further amendments to Schedule 6 give the authority the power to sever a public path order where some but not all of the modifications in it have attracted representations or objections and submit only that part of the order that attracted representations or objections to the Secretary of State. A further measure gives the Secretary of State the power to sever a public path order submitted to him where some but not all of the modifications in it have attracted representations or objections. The Secretary of State will then determine that part of the order that attracted representations or objections; leaving the other part of the order for the authority to confirm as unopposed.

670.The authority may also sever an order where part of the order has attracted representations or objections that the authority considers are not relevant and not submit that part of the order, submitting only that part of the order that has attracted representations or objections that are relevant. In doing so the authority would have to have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State and must inform the applicant and any person who made the representation or objection (and has not withdrawn it) of the reasons for its decision. These measures are intended to reduce the number of instances where the Secretary of State has to review the authorities’ decisions, which would reduce the administrative burden on both local authorities and the Secretary of State.

671.Paragraph 5 of Schedule 6 is amended so that where the validity of an order is questioned by application to the High Court then the Court may quash the decision of the Secretary of State rather than the order. This measure is intended to reduce the number of cases where the order-making process has to start over again from scratch, which would reduce the administrative burden on both local authorities and the Secretary of State.

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