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Public Footpaths

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it a requirement for planning authorities to consult the Ramblers Association and other recognised interest groups when planning applications are made under the Town and Country Planning Acts which include proposals for the creation of new public footpaths, cycleways and bridle paths. (124647)

Local planning authorities are already required to inform these groups of changes to rights of way by sending them copies of the statutory notices of the relevant orders. The orders are the Town and Country Planning (Public Path Orders) Regulations 1993, the Public Path Orders Regulations 1993, the Wildlife and Countryside (Definitive Maps and Statements) Regulations 1993 and the Rail Crossing Extinguishment and Diversion Orders Regulations 1993.

Department of the Environment circular 2/93 “Public Rights of Way” advised local authorities that they should also consult these groups before making these orders. We have no evidence that these long-standing arrangements are not working in practice.

My Department intends, however, to consult on matters relating to statutory consultees on planning applications later this year, and, it will be open to the Ramblers Association and other rights of way interests to make representations about their status as consultees.