§ The Earl of Mar and Kellie
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether the grant of permission by a landowner to ride a motor cycle on a public footpath overrides the provision of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 which states that vehicles are not permitted on public footpaths. [HL419]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Sewel)
Under Section 129(5) of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, it is an offence to drive or propel a vehicle on a footpath, as defined under that Act, unless there is a specific right to do so. The grant of permission by a landowner to ride a motorcycle on a public path may in certain circumstances constitute a "specific right" to ride such a vehicle there and in those cases would provide a defence to the criminal offence described in Section 129(5) of the 1984 Act. In the event of a prosecution being brought before it, the court would have to decide the issue by reference to all the facts and circumstances of the case. In addition, it should be noted that Section 129(5) does not create an offence in relation to any footpath which is a public path created under Section 30 of the Countryside (Scotland) Act 1967 or which forms part of a long distance route the proposals for which have been approved by the Secretary of State under Section 40(1) of that Act.