Major rights of way plan is debated

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A MAJOR plan to improve the 6,000km of public rights of way in North Yorkshire has been put forward in a new report.

It includes concentrating on key routes, urging landowners to make more effort to safeguard pathways and increasing the use of volunteers.

The report, which will be discussed by North Yorkshire County Council next Wednesday, when the joint chairs of a Local Access Forum (LAF) sub group, Rachel Connolly and George Bateman, will tell the members that volunteers have a key part to play by helping to carry out maintenance and improvement work such as installing stiles, gates and bridges, clearing paths, and surveying rights of way.

“Landowners are well placed to cut field edge surfaces as well as hedges,” the report says.

“The county council should make more effort to ensure that all landowners carry out their responsibilities at their own costs. They should also be encouraged to go beyond their statutory duties and take over responsibility for cutting rights of way surfaces where they border fields.”

The report urges that the Country Association and the National Farmers Union should become involved and volunteers could be used to act as a liaison point with landowners.

The Local Access Forum is made up of landowners, local authorities, rangers organisations, and the British Horse Society.

A report, which will be discussed by councillors next week, says ensuring all rights of way are included on the North Yorkshire Definitive Map is “an absolute top priority” to prevent them being lost for future generations.

The sub group was asked to give advice on achieving required standards.