Requirement

Since The National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, surveying authorities have a statutory duty to publish a Definitive Map and Statement (DMS) for their area on which is shown and described all public rights of way for which they are responsible, namely:

• footpaths
• bridleways
• byways
• restricted byways (added under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000)

There remains a requirement under The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to keep the Definitive Map and Statement under continuous review and to make Modification Orders where footpaths, bridleways, byways and restricted byways may be incorrectly recorded or not recorded at all.

The original legislation provided that built up areas could be excluded from this duty. This exclusion is now withdrawn and only Inner London Boroughs are exempt from this duty.

Although not tested through the courts, it is considered that Independent Footpaths (routes that are normally found within urban estates and provide surfaced footpath links between building/houses and highways) should be shown and described on the Definitive Map and Statement. Whilst they should be listed on Lists/Registers of publicly maintainable highways (S36 Highways Act 1980), it is advisable that they are recorded on the Definitive Map and Statement before the currently legislated cut-off date of 2026 (Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 refers).

 

Providing the Definitive Map and Statement

Through working with many clients nationally, the Highway Law Services team have found that whilst the Definitive Map and Statement may have been published as a result of the original legislation in 1949, many authorities have

  • not been keeping their Definitive Map and Statement under continuous review with footpaths, bridleways, byways and restricted byways incorrectly recorded;

  • not reflected boundary changes;

  • not produced maps as directed from the change in legislation whereby excluded areas are required to be mapped;

  • never formerly published a Definitive Map and Statement for their area.

 

The Team Capability

The team are experts with approximately 40 years experience between them having worked with local authority and private sector clients in all aspects of Definitive Map and Statement work, namely;

 

For further details, advice or assistance contact
Jenny Trevor on +44 (0) 207 193 2053 or go to 'contact us'