New footpath regime to be introduced
A new maintenance and fast-track enforcement regime for Norfolk’s 2,500 miles of public rights of way is being introduced from March 2012.
The change is being made to help save £500,000 over three years, while meeting the County Council’s legal duty to ensure public rights of way are available for use.
As a result, the planned path clearing programme will end, to be replaced by a responsive maintenance and enforcement regime. A simplified enforcement process has fewer stages, so paths can be cleared more quickly of obstructions – such as fallen trees, broken stiles or locked gates.
An inspection regime is being developed, but the County Council needs the help of local people and parish and town councils to keep rights of way free of obstructions, particularly where local knowledge can identify and solve problems at an early stage. Landowners also have important responsibilities, and local solutions are often possible without the County Council having to intervene.
Public rights of way need to be reasonably passable to ordinary users, and in deciding if maintenance is needed, County Council officers will consider the following factors:
- Frequency of use
- Urban or rural route
- Height of vegetation
- Density of vegetation
- Health and safety, such as proximity to hazards such as water, ditches, steep slopes or cliffs, and traffic.
Click here to read the item that went to Cabinet on 10 October.