Chris Ames 15 January 2021

Councils struggle as people flock to rights of way

Councils struggle as people flock to rights of way image

Local government directors are asking councils across England for more information about the pressures on public rights of way due to increased use during the pandemic.

Place directors body ADEPT said it is again working on the issue in partnership with the Institute of Public Rights of Way and Access Management (IPROW), following earlier surveys that revealed issues.

The latest online survey asks for information on the impact of current levels of use compared with 2019, budget and resource challenges and officers’ views on current and future pressures on service delivery.

ADEPT said COVID-19, national lockdowns and the restrictions of the tiers system have all seen ever greater numbers use public rights of way for exercise and active travel.

It said that although this increase is welcome in terms of mental health and wellbeing, it has meant an increased workload for authorities. Under the current lockdown in England, people are encouraged to exercise locally, but there is no legal restriction on travelling to exercise.

The information collected will be used to inform both organisations’ work with Defra, Natural England and the Local Government Association and will be used to highlight budget and resource pressures faced by the estimated 140,000 miles of public rights of way networks across the country.

Shona Butter, vice-chair of ADEPT’s rights of way managers group, said: ‘Public rights of way have become a vital part of ensuring that the public’s health, wellbeing and access to outdoor spaces can be maintained through the ongoing pandemic. They are a lifeline to local communities, particularly in periods of national lockdown, and there has been a significant increase in the number of users.

‘Unfortunately, greater usage also means increased pressures on already strained budgets in terms of maintenance and safety. We want to understand in more detail the challenges faced by officers responsible for maintaining rights of way to inform our work with government.’

Local authorities are receiving emails providing details of how to access the survey and the information to be captured. Once analysed, the results will be available on the ADEPT website.

The latest government advice on public rights of way is available online.

This article first appeared on Transport Network

SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Greater Cambridge Partnership Head of Innovation

Cambridgeshire County Council
£70,026 - £75,644
The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is responsible for transforming Greater Cambridge through a City Deal.. Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Residential Worker - The Maples, Harlow

Essex County Council
£20604 - £26801 per annum + + 6% allowance & Possible Ovetime
Residential Worker - The MaplesPermanent, Full Time£20,604 to £26,801 per annumLocation
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Estate Services Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£32,556.79 per annum
The role of an estate services officer will provide candidates with an important role within... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Social Worker Level 1

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£34.884 - £37.722
You will be a social worker who has had experience or enthusiasm to work with older people with mental health needs. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Managed Stores Contract Coordinator

City of York Council
£27,614 to £30,602 per annum
An excellent opportunity has arisen with City of York Council for an experienced Contract Coordinator to help... York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue