§ Mr. Stephen Ross
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities honour their obligations to see that public footpaths and bridleways are restored and maintained after cultivation has taken place.
§ Mr. Marks
All local authorities, including parish councils, have power to prosecute offenders who fail to restore paths after ploughing; highway authorities—which have a duty to ensure restoration and maintenance—have power to do the work themselves; any person may, after preliminary procedures, apply to the Crown court for an order requiring the highway authority to repair a public path. Departmental advice to authorities draws attention to their obligations but the Secretary of State has no powers in these matters, which are best left to local initiative.