Explanation of Terms

WHAT ARE A 'PUBLIC RIGHT OF WAY' AND A 'HIGHWAY'?

These terms both mean a way over which the public has a right to pass and repass, though by convention the former term excludes roads normally used by motor vehicles. They may or may not be maintainable at public expense. They may be classified as follows:

Footpath

A way over which the right of way is on foot only.

Bridleway

A way over which the right of way is on foot, on horseback and on pedal cycle, possibly with an additional right to drive animals.

Restricted Byway

A way over which the right of way is on foot, on horseback or leading a horse and for vehicles other than mechanically propelled vehicles, i.e. for pedal cycles and horse-drawn vehicles. Most Restricted Byways were formerly Roads Used as Public Paths (RUPPs), a classification which no longer exists.

Byway Open To All Traffic (BOAT)

A carriageway, i.e. a right of way for vehicular traffic, but one which is used mainly for the purpose for which footpaths and bridleways are used, i.e. by walkers and horse riders.

WHAT IS A DROVE ROAD OR DRIFTWAY?

An old track formerly used for the droving of animals, which may or may not be classified as one of the above types of public right of way. A carriageway carries the right of driftway. A driftway does not carry the right of carriageway.

WHAT IS A ROAD?

Any highway and any other road to which the public has access. It may be any of the classifications listed above, including ways to which the public has access by permission of the landowner, but not by right. A road does not necessarily have vehicular rights.

WHAT IS A GREEN LANE?

A green lane is a term with no legal meaning whatsoever. It is a physical description of an unsurfaced track, often, but not always, of some antiquity, normally bounded by hedges, walls, fences or ditches. It may be a footpath, bridleway, restricted byway or byway open to all traffic, public or private, and it may have no public rights of way at all.

WHAT IS THE LIST OF STREETS?

A list kept by Highway Authorities of all highways, including roads, lanes, footpaths, bridleways, byways, squares, courts, alleys and passages which are maintainable at public expense. It is no indication that such a way carries vehicular rights.

WHAT IS AN ‘OTHER ROUTE WITH PUBLIC ACCESS’ (ORPA)?

This term is an invention of the Ordnance Survey. It is a route which is not shown on the Definitive Map and not shown coloured on the OS map (thereby leading to uncertainty about its status), but which is recorded in the Highway Authority’s List of Streets. It is no indication that such a way carries vehicular rights.

WHAT IS AN UNCLASSIFIED COUNTY ROAD (UCR)?

An obsolete term, created by the Local Government Act 1929 and abolished in the Local Government Act 1972, but still used by several Highway Authorities. All that can be deduced from the term is that it is a highway (including public right of way) maintainable at public expense, other than an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘third class' road. It is no indication that it carries vehicular rights.

WHAT IS A PERMISSIVE PATH?
A footpath or bridleway which the landowner permits the public to use, with the intention that it should not become a public right of way.  It may or may not be marked as such.   The landowner may close a Permissive Path at any time and for any length of time that he chooses.
WHAT IS THE DEFINITIVE MAP AND STATEMENT?

A map kept up to date by each Highway Authority showing all Public Rights of Way of their different types in their area, whether or not they are maintainable at public expense, and a statement listing and describing each of these ways.

WHAT IS A DEFINITIVE MAP MODIFICATION ORDER (DMMO)?
An Order by the Highway Authority to add, alter or delete a public Right of Way to, on or from the Definitive Map and Statement consequent upon an ‘Event’. This may follow an application by a member of the public, or may be through the Highway Authority’s duty to keep the Definitive Map under continuous review.

WHAT IS AN EVENT?

Events giving rise to Definitive Map Modification Orders can be one of two types:

  • Legal Events are where a highway shown on the Definitive Map has been authorised to be stopped up, diverted, widened or extended; or has ceased to be a highway of that description; or where a new Right of Way has been created.
  • Evidential Events can be the expiration of a period of use; or the discovery of evidence of a hitherto-unrecorded right of way; or the discovery of evidence that a Right of Way should be recorded with a different status; or the discovery of evidence that a Right of Way should be deleted, or that other particulars in the Definitive Map and Statement require modification.
WHAT IS THE NERC ACT?
Part 6 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 is concerned with Rights of Way and mechanically propelled vehicles (MPVs). While only running to 7 sections, it is a very complex piece of legislation. GLPG (founded by GLEAM) greatly influenced the NERC Bill when it was passing through both Houses of Parliament, and introduced many successful amendments. The NERC Act provides that:
  1. No new public vehicular rights will be created after commencement date (2nd May 2006 in England, 16th November 2006 in Wales), except under express legal authority;
  2. An existing unrecorded public right of way for MPVs is extinguished over a way shown immediately before commencement on the definitive map and statement (DM&S) as a footpath, bridleway or restricted byway, or not shown at all, subject to any one of eight exceptions:
    • It is over a way whose main lawful use in the 5 years prior to commencement was use by the public in MPVs;
    • It was not shown on the DM&S, but was shown on the List of Streets;
    • It was created on terms that expressly provide for it to be a right of way for MPVs;
    • It was created by the construction of a road intended to be used by MPVs;
    • It was created by virtue of the use by MPVs before 1st December 1930;
    • If before the cut-off date (20th January 2005 in England, 19th May 2005 in Wales) an application was made under s53(5) Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (WCA) for an order modifying the DM&S so as to show the way as a BOAT;
    • If before commencement the surveying authority has made a determination in respect of such an application;
    • If before commencement a person with an interest in the land has made such an application, and use of the way for MPVs was reasonably necessary to enable that person to obtain access to the land.
  3. An application, as in f) above, must be made in accordance with para 1 of Sch 14 WCA. This provides that the application must:
    • be made in the prescribed form, and must be accompanied by:
    • a map drawn to a scale of not less than 1:25,000 and showing the way or ways to which the application relates; and
    • copies of any documentary evidence (including statements of witnesses) which the applicant wishes to adduce in support of the application.
  4. On 2nd May 2006 in England (11th May 2006 in Wales) all Restricted Byways (created in Part II of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW Act), also much influenced by GLEAM) came into effect. This included all former RUPPs, a classification which no longer exists. Restricted Byways have a right of way on foot, on horseback or leading a horse, and for vehicles other than MPVs, i.e. for pedal cycles and horse drawn vehicles.
  5. From 1st October 2007 National Park authorities in England or Wales may make Traffic Regulation Orders for roads within the area of their National Park.
The text of Part 6 of the NERC Act can be accessed at
www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/ukpga_20060016_en_7#pt6 Defra have published successive versions of a Guide to Part 6 NERC Act and Restricted Byways, in the preparation of which they were assisted by GLEAM and GLPG. Version 5 has now been published, which may be the final version. It can be accessed at http://archive.defra.gov.uk/rural/documents/countryside/prow/nercactv5.pdf
WHAT IS THE GREEN LANES PROTECTION GROUP (GLPG)?

The GLPG is an informal group of 22 like-minded organisations, some large and national, others smaller and more local, which was assembled by GLEAM early in 2005 to fight for various amendments to the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Bill while it was going through both Houses of Parliament. At present GLPG represents the following organisations: Allen Valleys Action Group (Northumberland), Battle for Bridleways Group (Herefordshire), Brecon Beacons Park Society, British Driving Society, Cambrian Mountains Society, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, Campaign for National Parks, Country Land & Business Association, Cycling UK, Exmoor Society, Friends of the Lake District, Friends of The Ridgeway, GLEAM, Long Bostle Downland Preservation Society (West Sussex), North Wales Alliance to Influence the Management of Off-Roading (NWAIMOR), Peak District Green Lanes Alliance, Peak & Northern Footpaths Society, Save our Paths (SOPS) (North Wales), South Downs Society (Sussex), West Somerset and Exmoor Bridleways Association, Yorkshire Dales Green Lanes Alliance. These organisations represent a total membership of over 350,000 members.

WHAT IS A TRAFFIC REGULATION ORDER (TRO)?
A very flexible order that may be made by the local traffic authority to control traffic on roads of any kind. May be applied to any section, length or width of road to control type, weight, width or speed of vehicles or to forbid vehicular traffic altogether. Can be temporary, permanent or seasonal. A TRO may be applied:
  • to prevent danger to persons or traffic using the road;
  • to prevent damage to the road or to any building on or near the road;
  • to facilitate the passage of any class of traffic using the road, including pedestrians and horses;
  • to prevent the use of the road by traffic of an unsuitable type or in an unsuitable manner;
  • to preserve the character of the road where it is specially suitable for use on horseback or on foot;
  • or to preserve or improve the amenities of the area through which the road runs.
A pre-emptive TRO may be applied to prevent damage being done before it occurs.
WHAT IS A HIGHWAY AUTHORITY?
The body responsible for maintaining public rights of way and keeping them free from obstruction.
WHAT IS A SURVEYING AUTHORITY?
The body responsible for the preparation and upkeep of the Definitive Map and Statement of public rights of way.
WHAT IS A TRAFFIC AUTHORITY?
The body which exercises traffic management powers through the making of Traffic Regulation Orders.
WHAT IS A STREET AUTHORITY?
The body charged with street management, and in particular with the handling of works in streets by statutory undertakers.
WHO ARE THE VARIOUS AUTHORITIES?
In practice, despite these four different terms above, the same council is normally responsible for all four roles.  In England outside Greater London this is the county council where there is a two-tier system of county and district councils; otherwise it is the unitary authority. In Wales it is the county or county borough council, which are all unitary authorities.

The one exception to this is in National Parks in England or Wales.  Here the National Park Authority may make Traffic Regulation Orders for Public Rights of Way and unmade-up carriageways in the National Park; but before making any order it must consult any authority which is the Highway Authority for the road.
WHAT IS THE BLUE BOOK?
Rights of Way, A Guide to Law and Practice.  Fourth edition, by John Riddall and John Trevelyan.   Published by the Ramblers Association and the Open Spaces Society.