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Rights of Way

Volume 455: debated on Thursday 18 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the accessibility of rights of way routes to disabled people. (115905)

In 2005 Natural England produced a framework which aims to provide clear and detailed advice for countryside managers on how to improve access opportunities for disabled people. It guides land managers, land owners and others, through a process of working more actively with disabled people. This can be found on the Natural England website at:

www.countryside.gov.uk/Images/Inclusive_tcm2-27716.pdf

Under section 69 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, highway authorities must consider the needs of disabled people when authorising the erection of stiles and gates or other works on footpaths or bridleways. A local authority may also enter into agreements with owners, occupiers or lessees of land to improve stiles, gates or other structures to benefit disabled people.

The Welsh Assembly Government commenced section 69 in December 2006 and are currently consulting on statutory guidance, which is available online at:

http://new.wales.gov.uk/consultations/currentconsultation/envandcouncurrcons/?lang=en

DEFRA plans to consult on the section 69 statutory guidance shortly.