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Rights of Way: Portsmouth

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 10610, tabled on 4 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure that Portsmouth City Council bring forward an Order for a restricted Byway at the Camber.

Answered on

14 June 2021

Public rights of way are a local issue and this matter is the responsibility of the local County Council. We are unable to comment on specific cases, to avoid prejudice should they come before a Government Minister or Planning Inspector for a decision. I can, however, offer some general advice which I hope you will find helpful.

Public rights of way exist in four categories: footpaths for use on foot (or with mobility scooters); bridleways for use on horseback or bicycle as well as on foot; restricted byways for use of carriages in addition to the above; and byways open to all traffic for use of motor vehicles in addition to the other types.

A public right of way is added to the network by either proving the way existed through historic evidence or proving the public has used the route for 20 years. The use needs to be at the appropriate level. For example, a bridleway would not be added if there is no evidence it has been used by horses or bicycles. Whether the route is amenable to local residents is not considered at this stage as it is an evidence-based process only.

Once a route is recognised as part of the network, a public path order may be made to change the status of the route by agreement with the local authority. Here convenience, safety and other such concerns are taken into consideration. In both instances, the public has the right to object to the proposed changes to the network and the local authority advertises the changes in order to give residents the opportunity to give their views.

The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) administers rights of way cases on behalf of Defra. They deal with cases where the decision has been challenged.