LEGISLATION NEWS

24 November 2009 • Rosemary James

A Rough Guide to The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

The Countryside and Rights of Way (CRoW) Act came into force in November 2000 and made provision for the right of public access to certain types of land, amended the law relating to public rights of way, increased protection for Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and strengthened wildlife enforcement legislation. It also covered better management of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The CRoW Act has significant implications for farmers and landowners and public sector organisations including Local Authorities. This Rough Guide covers the access and rights of way aspects of the act.

Introduction

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW Act 2000), provided new rights of public access to areas of open land classed as mountain, moor, heath, down, and registered common land. It made provisions for extending the right of access to coastal land and provided safeguards to the interests of landowners and occupiers, and enhanced the protection of wildlife.

The CroW Act applies to England and Wales only, it received Royal Assent in November 2000, and the provisions it contained were brought into force in stages in the following years.

Full text can be downloaded from: http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/ukpga_20000037_en_1

The Rules and Requirements

  • Introduced new rights of access on foot to mapped areas of access land (open country) the so called “right to roam”.
  • The detailed maps show the moors, mountains, heaths, downs and common land where there is open access by region
  • The right to roam is just that – access has to be on foot
  • Activities such as hunting and fishing, lighting fires, camping, disturbing wildlife, sailing or swimming in non tidal waters are prohibited under the act
  • Access to land can be limited or closed by the landowner or public authority for 28days per year.
  • Access can also be restricted for other reasons – nature and heritage conservation, fire prevention, or public protection
  • For landowners and Local Authorities the right to roam posed a number of problems and issues of providing safe, managed access within the new legislation
  • You can take your dog (on a lead between March and July) onto open access land, but not any other animal

What you need to do

Landowners need to be aware of the provisions of the act and consider the public in land management decisions.

Management of the access and effective communications are important to maintaining good relationships and avoiding conflicts

Public sector bodies including Loca...

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