Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation2000 c. 37


Countryside and Rights of WayAct 2000

2000 Chapter 37

An Act to make new provision for public access to the countryside; to amend the law relating to public rights of way; to enable traffic regulation orders to be made for the purpose of conserving an area's natural beauty; to make provision with respect to the driving of mechanically propelled vehicles elsewhere than on roads; to amend the law relating to nature conservation and the protection of wildlife; to make further provision with respect to areas of outstanding natural beauty; and for connected purposes.

[30th November 2000]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

I Access to the countryside

Part I

Access to the countryside

Chapter I

Right of access

General

General

S-1 Principal definitions for Part I.

1 Principal definitions for Part I.

(1) In this Part ‘access land’ means any land which—

(a) is shown as open country on a map in conclusive form issued by the appropriate countryside body for the purposes of this Part,

(b) is shown on such a map as registered common land,

(c) is registered common land in any area outside Inner London for which no such map relating to registered common land has been issued,

(d) is situated more than 600 metres above sea level in any area for which no such map relating to open country has been issued, or

(e) is dedicated for the purposes of this Part under section 16,

but does not (in any of those cases) include excepted land or land which is treated by section 15(1) as being accessible to the public apart from this Act.

(2) In this Part—

‘access authority’—

(a) in relation to land in a National Park, means the National Park authority, and

(b) in relation to any other land, means the local highway authority in whose area the land is situated;

‘the appropriate countryside body’ means—

(a) in relation to England, the Countryside Agency, and

(b) in relation to Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales;

‘excepted land’ means land which is for the time being of any of the descriptions specified in Part I of Schedule 1, those descriptions having effect subject to Part II of that Schedule;

‘mountain’ includes, subject to the following definition, any land situated more than 600 metres above sea level;

‘mountain, moor, heath or down’ does not include land which appears to the appropriate countryside body to consist of improved or semi-improved grassland;

‘open country’ means land which—

(a) appears to the appropriate countryside body to consist wholly or predominantly of mountain, moor, heath or down, and

(b) is not registered common land.

(3) In this Part ‘registered common land’ means—

(a) land which is registered as common land under the Commons Registration Act 1965 (in this section referred to as ‘the 1965 Act’) and whose registration under that Act has become final, or

(b) subject to subsection (4), land which fell within paragraph (a) on the day on which this Act is passed or at any time after that day but has subsequently ceased to be registered as common land under the 1965 Act on the register of common land in which it was included being amended by reason of the land having ceased to be common land within the meaning of that Act.

(4) Subsection (3)(b) does not apply where—

(a) the amendment of the register of common land was made in pursuance of an application made before the day on which this Act is passed, or

(b) the land ceased to be common land by reason of the exercise of—

(i) any power of compulsory purchase, of appropriation or of sale which is conferred by an enactment,

(ii) any power so conferred under which land may be made common land within the meaning of the 1965 Act in substitution for other land.

S-2 Rights of public in relation to access land.

2 Rights of public in relation to access land.

(1) Any person is entitled by virtue of this subsection to enter and remain on any access land for the purposes of open-air recreation, if and so long as—

(a) he does so without breaking or damaging any wall, fence, hedge, stile or gate, and

(b) he observes the general restrictions in Schedule 2 and any other restrictions imposed in relation to the land under Chapter II.

(2) Subsection (1) has effect subject to subsections (3) and (4) and to the provisions of Chapter II.

(3) Subsection (1) does not entitle a person to enter or be on any land, or do anything on any land, in contravention of any prohibition contained in or having effect under any enactment, other than an enactment contained in a local or private Act.

(4) If a person becomes a trespasser on any access land by failing to comply with—

(a) subsection (1)(a),

(b) the general restrictions in Schedule 2, or

(c) any other restrictions imposed in relation to the land under Chapter II,

he may not, within 72 hours after leaving that land, exercise his right under subsection (1) to enter that land again or to enter other land in the same ownership.

(5) In this section ‘owner’, in relation to any land which is subject to a farm business tenancy within the meaning of the Agricultural Tenancies Act 1995 or a tenancy to which the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 applies, means the tenant under that tenancy, and ‘ownership’ shall be construed accordingly.

S-3 Power to extend to coastal land.

3 Power to extend to coastal land.

(1) The Secretary of State (as respects England) or the National Assembly for Wales (as respects Wales) may by order amend the definition of ‘open country’ in section 1(2) so as to include a reference to coastal land or to coastal land of any description.

(2) An order under this section may—

(a) make consequential amendments of other provisions of this Part, and

(b) modify the provisions of this Part in their application to land which is open country merely because it is coastal land.

(3) In this section ‘coastal land’ means—

(a) the foreshore, and

(b) land adjacent to the foreshore (including in particular any cliff, bank, barrier, dune, beach or flat which is adjacent to the foreshore).

Maps

Maps

S-4 Duty to prepare maps.

4 Duty to prepare maps.

(1) It shall be the duty of the Countryside Agency to prepare, in respect of England outside Inner London, maps which together show—

(a) all registered common land, and

(b) all open country.

(2) It shall be the duty of the Countryside Council for Wales to prepare, in respect of Wales, maps which together show—

(a) all registered common land, and

(b) all open country.

(3) Subsections (1) and (2) have effect subject to the following provisions of this section and to the provisions of sections 5 to 9.

(4) A map prepared under this section must distinguish between open country and registered common land, but need not distinguish between different categories of open country.

(5) In preparing a map under this section, the appropriate countryside body—

(a) may determine not to show as open country areas of open country which are so small that the body consider that their inclusion would serve no useful purpose, and

(b) may determine that any boundary of an area of open country is to be treated as coinciding with a particular physical feature (whether the effect is to include other land as open country or to exclude part of an area of open country).

S-5 Publication of draft maps.

5 Publication of draft maps.

5. The appropriate countryside body shall—

(a) issue in draft form any map prepared by them under section 4,

(b) consider any representations received by them within the prescribed period with respect to the showing of, or the failure to show, any area of land on the map as registered common land or as open country,

(c) confirm the map with or without modifications,

(d) if the map has been confirmed without modifications, issue it in provisional form, and

(e) if the map has been confirmed with modifications, prepare a map incorporating the modifications, and issue that map in provisional form.

S-6 Appeal against map after confirmation.

6 Appeal against map after confirmation.

(1) Any person having an interest in any land may appeal—

(a) in the case of land in England, to the Secretary of State, or

(b) in the case of land in Wales, to the National Assembly for Wales,

against the showing of that land on a map in provisional form as registered common land or as open country.

(2) An appeal relating to the showing of any land as registered common land may be brought only on the ground that the land is not registered common land.

(3) An...

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