HL Deb 22 July 1997 vol 581 cc152-3WA
Lord Dean of Beswick

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What advice they propose to issue on definitive maps and statements in the light of recent High Court judgments.

Baroness Hayman

We have been looking at the implications of a recent High Court judgment for the evidence that is required to prove that vehicular rights of way have been established through regular use. We have concluded that vehicular rights cannot be claimed through 20 years' use (under Section 31 of the Highways Act 1980) if access to the route in question was prohibited by the Road Traffic Acts during any of those 20 years. The fact that people have driven along a footpath or bridleway does not mean it has ceased to be a footpath or bridleway. Vehicle users will not be able to claim new rights of way on the basis of past use unless the landowner has dedicated a way for their use.