“a duty to ‘assert, protect and keep open’ public rights of way..”

Possibly the key comment on this story – as the other Causeway row rumbles on.. and the young-Earthers wait with bated breath – comes via the Ulster Federation of Rambling Clubs – “Moyle [District Council] has to act – legislation has to be revisited and amended but District Councils are not the place where access agreements should be negotiated – this must be a central government matter.” The access agreement concerned is just one which Nevin claims have been, and are being, eroded throughout the Moyle DC area. And while the BBC are now reporting this story, it’s already been flagged up in this Belfast Telegraph report [via the UFRC] – and in this more recent report. However the Rambling Clubs are warning of an increased campaign..

As long term public access should be assured, the Federation suggests that assertion as a public right of way be considered and it would be happy to assist in gathering evidence of use to support the case for action.

..while the BBC report points back to Moyle Council

A spokesman confirmed the coastal path issue is to be discussed at a full meeting of the council next month. That still leaves time for an access agreement with the landowner, such agreements are in place with many farmers along the north coast. The council so far seems reluctant to rely on its powers which apparently could force the landowner to dismantle the steel barrier and allow the public to use the coastal path.

Perhaps it is time for the central administration to take over responsibility for such access..

  • aquifer

    The absence of public rights of way is a legacy of the violent expropriation of lands during a sequence of plantations prior to 1700. Ironically the land reforms around the turn of the nineteenth century, when tenant farmers became owners of freeholds, also entrenched the enclosure of land in Ireland.

    England has a much older settlement pattern where numerous public paths, and some ‘commons’ still exist.

    ‘A shared future’ should mean a shared land open to all.

  • steve48

    Is this part of the runkerry development and if so has how is teh right of way affected by Mr Trumps supposed interest.

    I also note that he will not exercise any option to buy unless he has planning permission for 200+ houses as part of the development. How does that sit with the Northern Area Plan

  • Public rights of way
    Protection and maintenance

    3.—(1) A district council shall assert, protect and keep open and free from obstruction or encroachment any public right of way; and for this purpose a district council may institute proceedings in its own name.

    (2) A district council may, after consultation with the owner of the land concerned, maintain any public right of way; but this paragraph shall not relieve any person from any liability to maintain a public right of way.

    (3) A district council shall compile and preserve maps and other records of public rights of way in its district.” 1983 Countryside Order

    Perhaps CAAN and UFRC should seek out the maps and name those councils that are not fulfilling their duties.

    Sadly, there appears to be no definition of a public right of way in the Order.

  • WalkNI – brochure (pdf file) and website

    Countryside Recreation Network – UK and Ireland

    Countryside Access and Activities Network (CAAN) – an umbrella organisation, which brings together all groups and bodies, which have an interest in, or involvement in countryside recreation in Northern Ireland.

  • Pete B, central administration is pretty dilatory too.

    I blogged this Blot on the Landscape back in August 5, 2007.

    Arlene Foster acknowledged that there was no record of planning permission having been granted. She asserts that her Department began investigating the matter by October 15 but the cage still stands.

  • Steve, the Northern Area Plan 2015 has been in limbo for some time:

    “The Northern Area Plan 2015, which sets out where roads and houses will be built in the future, was challenged by a property development company called Seaport.

    They had claimed the plan, which includes North Antrim, Coleraine and Limavady, was unlawful.

    The High Court has ruled that the plan failed to meet a European Directive.” BBC NI

    Carson McDowell and its litigation triumph for Seaport/Seymour Sweeney.

    Carson McDowell, Arlene Foster and the future of Northern Ireland’s Planning System – conference fee a mere £229.12!!

    Carson McDowell: Foster meets ‘Private’ Ryan

    Foster, Sweeney and Carson McDowell. Where’s Ian Paisley jnr?

  • I understand Arlene Foster will be making a statement within days about the future of the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre. The Seaport proposal is the only one on the table so will she or won’t she say YES? Margaret Hodge is due to report to UNESCO on the Causeway’s World Heritage status before the end of the month.

  • Comrade Stalin

    There is an area of greenfield site near me which joins two developed areas together. The site is a magnet for anti-social behaviour. An attempt to get it closed, which was strongly supported by local residents and the police, was blocked by the Countryside Act.

    I have a suspicion that this particular blocking exercise is also illegal under the Countryside Act and the farmer in question likely faces civil action under that legislation.