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Preventing the Dedication of Public Rights of Way

Highway statements and declarations from landowners to prevent the creation of Public Rights of Way

Public Rights of Way (PROW) can be deemed to have been created (often referred to as 'dedicated') if the public use a route over a long period of time, and the owner of the land has not taken specific steps to prevent it.

The exact conditions and requirements that need to be met are contained in the Highways Act 1980 (Section 31)

This Act also describes what actions landowners can take to protect themselves against new public rights of way being dedicated across 'unofficial' routes on their land. For example, landowners can erect clear signage to inform users that a particular route is 'not a public right of way', or that 'access is granted by permission of the landowner'. Signage might include details of the times a route may be used, or whether the route is intended for use only by certain persons.

Submitting Section 31(6) Statements and Declarations

Landowners can submit Section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 statements and declarations to West Berkshire Council to help prevent the unintended dedication of rights of way on their land.

These statements and declarations are particularly useful to protect large areas or multiple plots of land, as long as:

  • they are submitted within 20 years of each other, if the last document was submitted after 1 October 2013
  • or, within 10 years, if the last document was submitted before 1 October 2013 (although many landowners like to submit the first declaration a few days or weeks after the initial statement and map)

Please note: each landowner or representative is responsible for sending in the documentation within the relevant time period. West Berkshire Council will not send out reminders.

Submitting Statements or Declarations Using a CA16 Form

Since October 2013, landowners have been required to submit statements and declarations on a CA16 Form.

Please note: statements should be accompanied by a plan with a scale no less than 1:10 560, and declarations should be submitted separately, at a later date.

Application and Costs

Anyone wishing to submit a CA16 form should refer to the detailed guidance from the Department for Rural Affairs (DEFRA) for instructions and conditions before submitting their application.

In order to submit a Section 31(6) statement or declaration, you must complete the CA16 form and submit it to the Definitive Map Officer, along with a covering fee of £80.

Separate payments are needed for each statement or declaration:

  • one for the initial statement and plan
  • one for each subsequent declaration

It is common for landowners to submit their first declaration a few days or weeks after the initial statement and plan, to ensure that the legislative protection of Section 31(6) comes into effect (creating a combined cost of £160 (£80 plus £80) for standard applications).

For multiple parcels of land, there will usually be an additional charge of £30 per extra parcel. A parcel of land is a single area of land, which may consist of a single plot (eg: a field), or different plots that are joined together into a single mass of land. Separate parcels of land, or plots, are separated from one another by a gap of any distance.

Please contact the Definitive Map Officer for further information, or for online banking payment details.

Details of all valid applications (with an accompanying CA17 notice) are published on our PROW Notices webpage for 60 days.

Commons Act 2006 (Part D of the CA16 form)

The Commons Act 2006 element of a CA16 form is dealt with separately by our Legal Team. 

Please note: there is a separate fee if you want to complete the Commons Act 2006 (Part D) element of the CA16 form.

You can find more information about the Village Greens and Commons Landowners Register online.

Please provide separate payments for section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 and Common Act 2006 deposits, even if using a single CA16 form. The GOV.UK website has further information and guidance on submitting a deposit.

Section 31A Highways Act 1980 - Register of section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 statements and declarations for West Berkshire

We hold a Icon for pdf Register of landowner deposits [129KB] , which lists all the section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 statements and declarations held for West Berkshire. The areas of land affected can be seen on our interactive plan.

A catalogue showing all of the documents referred to in the register is available to download at the bottom of this page.

For further information, please contact the Definitive Map Officer at the Council offices at Market Street, Newbury.

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