Tuesday 10 April 2012

Road Used as a Public Path

Road Used as a Public Path, RUPP, is a legal term, now defunct, introduced by the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, an Act "... to make further provision for the recording, creation, maintenance and improvement of public paths and for securing access to open country, and to amend the law relating to rights of way; ...."

So what was a RUPP? The 1949 Act offers the following definitions:-

"footpath" means a highway over which the public have a right of way on foot only, other than such a highway at the side of a public road ;
"bridleway" means a highway over which the public have the following, but no other, rights of way, that is to say. a right of way on foot and a right of way on horseback or leading a horse, with or without a right to drive animals of any description along the highway ;
"public path" means a highway being either a footpath or a bridleway ;
"road used as a public path" means a highway, other than a public path, used by the public mainly for the purposes for which footpaths or bridleways are so used.

So a RUPP was a definitively imprecise label.  It's not a footpath and it's not a bridleway but it was clearly expected that people would walk and/or ride along a RUPP and then comes the word "mainly" which adds the possibility of vehicular rights.

The Countryside Act 1968 included a section designed to do away with the term RUPP altogether:

Reclassification of roads used as public paths
9.-(1) In the special review the draft revision, and the definitive map and statement, shall show every road used as a public path by one of the three following descriptions-
(a) a " byway open to all traffic ",
(b) a "bridleway ",
(c) a " footpath ",
and shall not employ the expression "road used as a public path" to describe any way.

The intention of that Act was that, within a short period, three years, RUPP would become obsolete and that vehicular rights to a route would be either confirmed or denied. That didn't always happen though, so

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 made provision for the Definitive Map and Statement to be kept under continuous review and repeated the formula with respect to RUPPs given in the 1968 Act.

Next step in the saga was the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 which finally killed off the term by redefining all remaining RUPPs using a new term "Restricted Byway" with the following rights:

(a) a right of way on foot,
(b) a right of way on horseback or leading a horse, and
(c) a right of way for vehicles other than mechanically propelled vehicles;

In Kingsley only one RUPP was recorded, Cradle Lane, and it was reclassified as BOAT after the 1981 Act.

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