§ The Earl of Mar and Kellie
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have plans to establish a public footpath maintenance fund to complement the availability of funds for public footpath construction and creation. [HL421]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (Lord Whitty)
There are no plans to establish a separate public footpath maintenance fund. In England and Wales, responsibility for maintaining footpaths lies with county and unitary councils, who budget for this task in the normal way. They already receive central government grant towards their overall highway responsibilities, which include footpath maintenance. However, the Countryside Commission, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales all fund programmes to open up and improve rights of way.
In Scotland, local authorities have no statutory duty to maintain footpaths, although they do have powers to do so if they choose.