Is Your Old Path Disappearing? If it's Not Registered by 2026 It Will!

Luton's Rights of Way

2026 The current cut-off date for adding historic paths to definitive maps.

Is your path disappearing?

There are just 8 years left to apply for your old paths to be recorded. Unrecorded paths, subject to some minor exceptions, will be extinguished on 1 January 2026 at the stroke of midnight. New Year's Day 2026 will be the last day such unrecorded paths can be used by right."

In a 2012 press release the government said, "All unrecorded footpaths and bridleways created before 1949 cannot be recorded after 1 January 2026. This ‘cut off’ date by which to claim these historical rights of way was set in the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000."

"As well as making it easier for walkers, horse riders and cyclists to protect unrecorded rights of way, the proposed system is expected to save almost £20 million a year by cutting needless bureaucracy. "

"No changes are being made to the protections for rights of way; rather proposals have been made to make the process of recording or changing them more efficient."

To explore Rights of Way in Luton, here is a link to the work being done in Luton

The process to get a path registered involves asking Luton Borough Council (LBC) to add the path to the “Definitive Right of Way Map”. You will need several signatures in any request to LBC, and in turn they will write to the signatories requesting firm evidence that the path has been in continuous use for at least the past 21 years. LBC will also contact the landowner for their views, and after all this, and everything being positive, LBC will then add the path to the definitive map.

The firm evidence may include old photographs, videos, planning applications, lawsuits and press articles as hard evidence. Just because you say you have used the path over the last 21 years is not enough!

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