Landowner Statements and Declarations Highways Act 1980 Section 31(6) Commons Act 2006 Section 15A : Guidance notes and link to Application form.
The personal details supplied on this form will be held by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Data Protection Act (DPA) https://www.rbwm.gov.uk/dataprotection.
Please read our privacy notice to see full details of how we use your information.
Protection for landowners against the establishment of public rights of way and town/village green registration – Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 (“the 1980 Act”) / section 15A of the Commons Act 2006 (“the 2006 Act”)
How can a public right of way or town/village green become established?
Public rights of way can come into being by deemed dedication. A public right of way such as a footpath or a bridleway may be recorded if it is shown that there has been at least 20 years uninterrupted use of a way by the public ‘as of right’ (without force, secrecy or permission). This is known as ‘deemed dedication’. Anyone can make an application (under section 53 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981) to have a route recorded or upgraded on the Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way (the legal record).
A town/village green may be registered if it is shown that the inhabitants of a locality, or a neighbourhood within a locality, have used an area ‘as of right’ for a period of at least 20 years for the purposes of lawful sports and pastimes. The 2006 Act allows anyone to make an application to register a piece of land as a new town/village green.
The Borough Council has a duty to investigate all such applications that are submitted.
What can a landowner do to prevent an application being successful?
A landowner can show that they have no intention of dedicating a public right of way or challenge recreational use in relation to a town/village green if they undertake ‘overt’ actions to make it clear to the public that they have no ‘right’ to cross or be on his/her land.
An overt action may be:
- The erection of carefully worded notices sited in relevant locations
- The locking of a gate at least once a year
- Challenges to users of the way or area, making a note of dates, times and names if possible
- The depositing of a statement and map followed by a subsequent declaration under section 31(6) of the 1980 Act for public rights of way or a statement under section 15A of the 2006 Act for village greens.
What does the depositing of a map and statement do?
Section 31(6) of the 1980 Act enables a landowner to deposit a statement accompanied with a map, followed by a declaration, with the Borough Council (“an appropriate council”), acknowledging any existing public rights of way across their land at the same time as declaring that they have no intention to dedicate any further routes to the public.
Section 15A of the 2006 Act enables a landowner to deposit a landowner statement accompanied with a map with the Borough Council (“a commons registration authority”), to protect that landowner’s land from registration of a town or village green.
What does the depositing of a map and statement not do?
This process has no effect on the existence of public rights of way already shown on the definitive map or otherwise shown to carry public rights, including by deemed dedication by virtue of 20 years use, before the map and statement was deposited. Please note that this process does not apply to cases where an application to record a public right of way is based on historical documentary evidence.
Registers and personal data
Once a map and statement are lodged with the Borough Council, the documents and all the details within them become available for public inspection.
Registers must be kept in paper and electronic format for the public to view on request. Information in the electronic deposit register that appears on the Borough Council website will include a copy of the statement (signatures will be removed), including name and address of the landowner.
Making an application
The Commons (Registration of Town or Village Greens) and Dedicated Highways (Landowner Statements and Declarations) (England) Regulations 2013 applies to any application made on or after 1st October 2013 to:
a) deposit a map and statement under section 31(6) of the1980Act;
b) lodge a declaration under section 31(6) of the1980Act;
c) deposit a statement under section 15A (1) of the 2006 Act.
Completion of the application form
- You should use application form CA16 available at Commons Act 2006: landowner statements, highways statements and declarations form - (Apply link below)
- You may add or omit relevant particulars.
- The application must be signed by every owner of the land to which the application relates, or by their duly authorised representative, and by the secretary or some other duly authorised officer of every owner of the land to which the application relates, which is a body corporate or an unincorporated association. If the form is signed by a duly authorised representative, proof of that authorisation must be submitted.
- The application must be accompanied by an Ordnance Map, at a scale of not less than 1:10,560 (so a map at 1:5,000 is acceptable for example). It should show the boundary of the land to which the application relates (i.e. the extent of landownership) in coloured edging. In respect of declarations under section 31(6) of the 1980 Act or statements under section 15A(1) of the 2006 Act, reference may be made to a map previously deposited in accordance with these Regulations or a map deposited in accordance with section 31(6) of the 1980 Act before 1st October 2013.
- The application must be accompanied by the appropriate fee.
- Once the map and statement relating to section 31(6) has been acknowledged as being accurate in respect of public rights of way, you must then complete the declaration form to validate and complete the process. This form should be used to renew the declaration within 20 years of the original or previous declaration (this has been changed from 10 years).
There is a standard fee of £358 + VAT for the processing of new applications, plus an additional fee of £72 + VAT for updating the register for subsequent declarations.
Apply (GOV.UK website)