User menu

What can Residents do about an obstruction on a public right of way?

Report it to the Public Rights of Way Officer of the highway authority for the area, giving details of the location and obstruction, preferably with a grid reference, to allow the Officer to locate it.


Residents have reported the flooded Public Rights of Way to the Public Rights of Way Officer at Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, given details and photographs of the location and obstruction


If you are not satisfied with the response of the highway authority's Rights of Way Officer, the normal chain of increasing pressure is highway authority's complaints procedure, Ombudsman.


The highway authority has a duty to assert and protect the Public Right of Way You may need evidence of the severity of the effect of the obstruction

To go to the Ombudsman you may need to demonstrate that you have already taken reasonable action and provide evidence that users are being compromised by the situation.


Anyone may serve a Highways Act 1980 Section 130A notice on the authority. The notice requires the authority to take action and may be pursued in court if necessary.


All public rights of way must remain free from obstruction at all times. It is an offence for the free passage of members of the public to be interrupted by any obstruction. These can include locked gates, buildings, domestic extensions, fencing (including electric and barbed wire fencing placed too close to a right of way so as to cause a nuisance), misleading signs, farm machinery, manure heaps, slurry, removal and blocking up of authorised stiles/gates, intimidation, overhanging vegetation, vegetation growing from hedges that obstruct the route, and so on.


A Public Rights of Way must reopen within 24 hours.