West Berkshire Council

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 (PROWs) can legally be created (dedicated) if a route is used by the public over a long period, and the owner of the land hasn't 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 rights of way being dedicated. For example, landowners can erect clear signage (on a non-public right of way route) to inform users that the 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.

Landowners can submit section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 statements and declarations to West Berkshire Council to help prevent the 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 that each landowner or representative is responsible for sending in the documentation within the relevant time period. West Berkshire Council will not send out reminders*

Since October 2013, there's been a requirement for statements (which should be accompanied by a plan not less than 1:10 560) and declarations (which should be submitted separately, at a later date) to be submitted on a CA16 form.

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.

Submitting a section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 statement or declaration, using a CA16 form

In order to submit a section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 statement or declaration, a CA16 form needs to be completed and submitted to the Definitive Map Officer, along with a covering fee of £75 (for multiple parcels of land there will usually be an additional charge of £25 per extra parcel. Please contact the Definitive Map Officer to discuss further.) Cheques should be made payable to West Berkshire Council. Contact the Definitive Map Officer for alternative payment details.  Details of all valid applications (with an accompanying 'CA17' notice) are then published on our Notices - Recorded Public Rights of Way webpage for 60 days.

Separate payments are needed for each section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 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) Highways Act 1980 comes into effect (a combined cost of £150).  

Commons Act 2006 (Part D of the CA16 form)

The Commons Act 2006 element of CA16 forms is dealt with separately by our Legal Team. There is a separate fee if you want to complete the Commons Act 2006 (Part D) element of the CA16 form. You can see more information about the Village Greens and Commons Landowners Register online. Please provide separate cheques/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 pdf icon Register of landowner deposits [117kb], 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 the pdf icon accompanying plan [13Mb].

An interactive plan is also available: click the 'Show Information' circle immediately above the map and then on an area hatched in blue on the map to get a reference number - click on it to display the text Register.

A four-part 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.

Who To Contact

For enquiries about the Definitive Map for Public Rights of Way in West Berkshire

01635 503251