The coalition Government is consulting on reform of rights of way procedures

The coalition Government is consulting on reform of rights of way procedures

The organisation representing country landowners said the rights of way system is unfair and weighted against them.

The Country Land and Business Association said it can only support Government reforms of public rights of way if the process is made more efficient.

The CLA, which represents owners of land, property and businesses in rural England and Wales, was making its views known ahead of the closure of a public consultation on public rights of way which ends on Monday.

It also said a deadline for abandoning any ‘lost paths’ must be adhered to.

Deputy president Henry Robinson said: “Reform of rights of way is desperately needed but the Government must address the unfairness of the current system if the CLA is to continue to support reform.

“Landowners can face claims for rights of way over their land that take many years and cost tens of thousands of pounds.

“Even after a claim has been fought and won, users can start the whole process again if they do not agree. This is unfair and a hugely inefficient process.”

Mr Robinson added: “If reform does go ahead, landowners need reassurance that the 2026 deadline for adding abandoned and unused paths to the definitive map will be become a reality.

“We want the Government to take a practical look at the impact of discovering long-forgotten paths on present-day land use and respect a landowners’ right to ask for a path to be diverted.”