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Repeal Section 67 of NERC Act 2006

Comment 2nd July 2010

Repeal Section 67 of Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act of 2006 was deeply flawed and needs repealing, and here are some reasons why:
• The legislation assumes that every highway authority had (as required by law) a List of Streets that was a) complete and b) readily understandable and c) provided some certainty as to where a route started and where it ended. Many (most) do not have such a LoS.
• The legislation offers a ‘private’ right to property owners if they can demonstrate they would have had a public right before commencement of NERC. Clearly this is all but meaningless as common law (and accidents of history) has made it all but impossible to prove vehicular rights exist over a given route. The Lord Chancellor’s Independent Inspectors have very rarely confirmed a BOAT over an ancient highway in recent years.
• The above means that many rural properties are now technically without access for motor vehicles
• Again, due to indolence, financial constraints and many other reasons, highway authorities have not properly recorded old roads (over a period starting in 1949 or 1968, depending on your view), thus the byway network is fragmented, with many BOATs being cul-de-sac due to s.67 NERC.
• The reduction in the network available to the law-abiding trail rider is having two undesirable results.
a – the remaining network is (in places) becoming over used
b – many hitherto law-abiding riders are ignoring an unjust law, thus causing understandable tensions
c – many landowners think that the NERC legislation allows them to gate the new Restricted Byways, thus denying access to cyclists & equestrians
• Because s.67 was so heavily amended during its passage through Parliament there are a number of stupid outcomes. For example, due to poor highway authority performance many good, hard roads (including some tarmac ones) are now closed to motorists whilst many unsuitable (soft, narrow, out of repair) routes remain open to motorists, thus act more as an encouragement to the ‘competitive’ element.
• Section 67 is far from clear and four years on from commencement of this legislation some highway authorities are still telling trail riders that it is OK to ride on restricted byways and bridleways because they are also on the List of Streets. If those applying the law do not themselves understand it, and if the law contains so many (and indeterminate) exemptions, it cannot be good law and should be repealed.
Reasons to repeal the Act
All of the above, and much more, are reasons for this legislation to be repealed and doing so would be in line with the promised return to sensible legislation; traditional liberties, etc.
 

Why does this matter?

This legislation was railroaded by narrow minded intest groups who wanted to remove the right for others to enjoy the countryside in their own way.

Overnight, law abiding citizens have been turned into criminals with no right of defence if found riding or driving on vehicular routes that have been perfectly legal for generations.

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