Petition Require all public rights of way be accessible to pedestrians, horses & bicycles

We want footpaths, off-road cycle routes, and bridleways to be de-restricted and turned into ‘public rights of way’; accessible to pedestrians, horses, and bicycles.

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Increasing off-road access reduces risk to vulnerable road users, whose numbers have increased without infrastructural developments to match.

Firstly, we would like the government to derestrict access through the implementation of public rights of way to reduce road incidents involving horses and cyclists. Secondly, increased off-road access could encourage people to cycle, which may help with the government’s fight against the obesity epidemic. Thirdly, implementing public rights of way would aid the government’s goal of promoting lower carbon transport by increasing the usage of sustainable transport, such as cycling, for commuting and leisure.

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Government responded

This response was given on 4 May 2022

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 compels local highway authorities to prepare and publish rights of way improvement plans for an improved network of local rights of way for public benefit.

We recognise the role that rights of way play in the nation’s physical and mental wellbeing. We are committed to improving access to the countryside in different ways. This includes completing the England Coast Path, supporting our network of National Trails, and the intention to create a new National Trail across the north of England. We are committed to increasing accessibility where possible for those with reduced mobility.

We are working collaboratively across government to seek opportunities to continue to improve access to the outdoors. We are developing the UK-wide Levelling Up Parks Fund with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, which will create parks and green spaces on urban land which has become unused, undeveloped or neglected. We are also supporting the Department for Transport’s work on active travel to boost cycling and walking.

The Government response to the Landscapes Review sets out our ambition to level up opportunities for all parts of society to have access to nature, whilst also supporting local communities that live and work in our protected landscapes.

Management of public rights of way is the responsibility of local highways authorities. Legislation requires that local authorities produce rights of way improvement plans that set out how they are planning to provide a better experience for walkers, cyclists, horse riders, and those with mobility problems in their areas.

Procedures are also in place to change the status of public rights of way with the agreement of local authorities where it is in the public interest to do so. Convenience, safety and other such concerns are taken into consideration as part of these processes.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

At 100,000 signatures...

At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

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Petitions Committee requests a revised response from the Government

The Petitions Committee (the group of MPs who oversee the petitions system) have considered the Government’s response to this petition. They felt that the response did not directly address the request of petition and have therefore written back to the Government to ask them to provide a revised response.

When the Committee have received a revised response from the Government, this will be published on the website and you will receive an email. If you would not like to receive further updates about this petition, you can unsubscribe below.

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