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Public Path Orders (diversions and extinguishments)

A Public Right of Way (other than a Byway Open to all Traffic) which appears on the Definitive Map and Statement can be diverted or extinguished by a legal process whereby a local authority makes a Public Path Order.

In Norfolk the majority of Public Path Orders,made under the Highways Act 1980, are processed by Norfolk County Council (the Council).

Public Path Orders made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 are generally processed by the relevant District/Borough Council and are the appropriate means where a change is necessitated to implement a planning permission.

The Council has a power (and not a duty) to make Public Path Orders under sections 26, 118 and 119 of the Highways Act 1980. These orders, once confirmed, have the effect of permanently creating, extinguishing or diverting Footpaths, Bridleways or Restricted Byways respectively.

Before it decides to make an Order, the Council must be satisfied that the legal tests relevant to the particular type of Order can be satisfied.

A Council is under no obligation to make an Order. Extending this further, if the Council decides to make an order it is again under no duty to refer it to the Secretary of State for the Environment, should objections be received.

Before completing the form please check the Public Path Order Eligibility Tool (PDF) [24KB] which will advise you how to start this process.

Why has the Council said that I must instruct a specialist Rights of Way practitioner or a solicitor rather than deal with it myself?

Public Path Order processes are technical, complex and laid down by legislation. If applications do not follow these prescribed legal processes they will fail.

The Institute of Public Rights of Way has a list of registered consultants -


Why does it matter if the Public Right of Way is obstructed or cultivated (ploughed or cropped)? Why can't I just have it diverted around the obstruction?

The Council requires landowners to comply with the law by not obstructing any Public Rights of Way on their land. Where land is cultivated (ploughed or cropped), the owner must ensure that those paths are always re-instated in accordance with the law.

To do otherwise would allow those who are obstructing Public Rights of Way to avoid their responsibilities.

It is highly possible that if an applicant approaches the Council to divert a path that is obstructed, the Council would commence enforcement proceedings to remove the obstruction, (having had the existence of the obstruction brought to its attention by the applicant). There may be situations where there are extenuating circumstances but these will be extremely rare.


Why can't the Council deal with a Public Right of Way diversion involving development?

The District or Borough Councils are the local planning authorities involved in developments and are therefore the relevant authority to make any orders diverting public rights of way under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

These orders will be made in accordance with the relevant conditions contained in the planning permission granted by the District or Borough Councils themselves.


Can District or Borough Councils make Public Path Orders and if so are they cheaper?

District or Borough Councils also have the power to make these orders but, just like the County Council are not under a duty to do so. Applicants would need to contact the Council for details of charges and arrangements.


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