Search Legislation

Deregulation Act 2015

Sections 20 to 26 (and Schedule 7): background and territorial extent, application and commencement

110.By way of background to these measures, Part 3 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (“the 1981 Act”) requires local authorities in England and Wales to maintain and keep under review maps and statements showing public rights of way in their area. The local authorities concerned are referred to in that Act as “surveying authorities” and the maps and statements are referred to as “definitive maps and statements”. Part 3 also sets out the procedures which apply where an authority wishes to make a change to the definitive map and statement for its area or where someone applies for such a change to be made.

111.A definitive map and statement is conclusive evidence of certain matters. For example, if a map shows a footpath, this is generally conclusive evidence that the public had a right of way on foot over the land on a particular date.

112.Some rights of way are not recorded on a definitive map and statement. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (section 53) provides for unrecorded rights of way created before 1949 to be extinguished immediately after 1 January 2026 (known as the “cut-off date”), subject to certain exceptions.

113.The Highways Act 1980 also deals with public rights of way. For example, it allows applications to be made, in certain circumstances, to extinguish or divert a public right of way.

114.Sections 20 to 26 (and Schedule 7) form part of the law of England and Wales. However, the amendments made by them make changes which affect public rights of way in England only. They come into force on a day to be appointed by the Secretary of State in a commencement order.

Back to top


Print Options


Explanatory Notes

Text created by the government department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes were introduced in 1999 and accompany all Public Acts except Appropriation, Consolidated Fund, Finance and Consolidation Acts.


More Resources

Access essential accompanying documents and information for this legislation item from this tab. Dependent on the legislation item being viewed this may include:

  • the original print PDF of the as enacted version that was used for the print copy
  • lists of changes made by and/or affecting this legislation item
  • confers power and blanket amendment details
  • all formats of all associated documents
  • correction slips
  • links to related legislation and further information resources

Impact Assessments

Impact Assessments generally accompany all UK Government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector, civil society organisations and public services. They apply regardless of whether the regulation originates from a domestic or international source and can accompany primary (Acts etc) and secondary legislation (SIs). An Impact Assessment allows those with an interest in the policy area to understand:

  • Why the government is proposing to intervene;
  • The main options the government is considering, and which one is preferred;
  • How and to what extent new policies may impact on them; and,
  • The estimated costs and benefits of proposed measures.