Tuesday 7th July 2020
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Public rights of way

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rights of way

Public rights of way are areas of land which the public have the right to pass and repass

We are responsible for ensuring that the rights of way in Luton are usable, unobstructed and clearly signed.

Highway Maintenance are legally responsible for keeping clear just an 11km length of rights of way [includes both footpath and bridleways] as defined in Access to the Countryside legislation. They are inspected to assess whether they are free from obstructions such as overgrown hedges and to ensure that they are clearly signed.

Can I check if a path is a public right of way?
To check whether a path is a public rights of way please contact our Highway Maintenance service. Details are at the bottom of the web page. 

Types of public right of way
Designated public footpaths are for walkers only. You should not ride a bicycle or a horse on a public footpath.  Prams, pushchairs or wheelchairs can be used where possible. Dogs can be taking for walks along the footpaths as long as the dog is on a lead or under close supervision.
Public Bridleways are for walkers, horse riders and pedal cyclists. Pedal cyclists should give way to walkers and horse riders. 
Byways open to all traffic  (BOATs for short ) - are  routes available for use by walkers, horse-riders, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists, horse drawn carriages and motor vehicles. Any vehicles using public byways must be licensed and insured, properly taxed and fit for use on public roads. In some areas use may be restricted by a traffic regulation order. It is a criminal offence to drive any motorised vehicle on a public footpath or bridleway without 'lawful authority'. 'Lawful authority' includes the right of the local authority to take vehicles along a right of way to maintain it or the permission of the landowner of the land over which the right of way crosses. 
It is an offence to use any right of way in a reckless or careless manner, or without consideration of other users. 

Private and public rights
Public rights of way do not in any way affect private rights of access that may exist over that land for landowners and householders. These rights should be mentioned in the deeds of the land in question. Some ways can carry both public and private rights; e.g. a farm access road may also be a public footpath. Private rights must not be exercised in any way as to interfere with the rights of the public. 
Permissive paths
Landowners may give permission by a formal agreement with us to use paths or tracks over their land that is not public rights of way. Usually referred to as 'permissive paths', they are not covered by rights of way legislation and there is usually no intention that they should become public rights of way. Notices may be erected at each end of the path to this effect and cover additional restrictions on use that may apply. If you require any further information please contact us at the above address.

Please remember it is an offence to use any right of way in a reckless or careless manner, or without consideration of other users. 

If you use rights of way please familiarise yourself with the Countryside Code 

  • enjoy the countryside and respect its life and work
  • guard against all risk of fire
  • fasten all gates
  • keep your dogs under close control
  • keep to public paths across farmland
  • use gates and stiles to cross fences, hedges and walls
  • leave livestock, crops and machinery alone
  • take your litter home
  • help to keep all water clean
  • protect wildlife, plants and trees
  • take special care on country roads
  • make no unnecessary noise

Please click on the burron below for information on Landowners Statement and Declarations such as:

  • how can a public right of way become established?
  • what can a landowner do to prevent a claim?
  • a link to apply using Form CA16

Landowners Statement and Declarations​​​​​​​​​​​

For information about this proposal including the evidence on which the decision was taken to include Langley Place on the Definitive Map and Statement, please see the meeting documents.​​​​




 Contact information

Highway services
Luton Council, Central Depot, Kingsway, Luton, Bedfordshire, LU4 8EJ
Tel: 01582 510333
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