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Please note - this consultation closed on 19 March 2017.


Public rights of way consultation

We are consulting on a proposal to change the way we prioritise management and maintenance of public rights of way within North Yorkshire, excluding those managed on our behalf by The North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales National Parks.

Public rights of way are footpaths, bridleways and other routes that everyone can use without needing permission from landowners.

At over 6,000 km, our public rights of way network is one of the longest in the country. One of our key objectives is to make sure this important asset is safe and usable for both residents and visitors. A detailed map and other information about the public rights of way network in North Yorkshire can be found here.

In an average year, customers will report 3,000 defects, such as a broken stile or a fallen tree. Maintenance of the network is arranged by a small team of officers with support from landowners, contractors and a dedicated group of countryside volunteers.

We have had to reduce our spending by around 35 per cent over recent years and this has affected all council services, including public rights of way. As a consequence we are now looking at ways to continue managing the public rights of way network with less money.

Network categorisation

The purpose of this consultation is to ask people for their views on a new approach to categorising the public rights of way network. Doing so will allow us to focus routine maintenance in areas where paths are agreed as being more important or better used. The category of a route will also help us to plan how we respond to defects that we find or are reported to us.

We will manage the network based on sections of the paths or 'links'. We will then assign a route category as follows.

  • Each link will have a score for the key characteristic of the path. Example characteristics are safe routes to schools and paths in areas of outstanding natural beauty.
  • Each link will also have a score based on an assessment of the value placed on the link by the local community.
  • We will categorise each link based on the combination of characteristic and community value scores.
  • We will map the category banding of all routes and publish this on our website.

We have taken this approach because we think that:

  1. It is a transparent approach to assessing the entire network; and
  2. The inclusion of community value will help focus attention and resource onto parts of the network that will provide greatest benefit and value to local communities.

Measuring the value that different communities place on different routes is intended to make sure that we focus resources and effort onto paths that benefit users and local communities the most. However, it is difficult to define and measure community value, so we intend to implement our approach initially based on path characteristics alone. An important part of this consultation is to gather views over how best to measure community value in future.

Consultation documents


Deadline for comments

This consultation closed on 19 March 2017.

This page was last updated on 20 March 2017