Permanent diversions and extinguishments

Permanent changes to public paths may be made using a Public Path Order made under the Highways Act or The Town and Country Planning Act. Highways Act orders are concerned with matters of landowner choice and Planning Act orders relate to planning applications

List of PRoW schemes

We have produced a list of public path schemes that involve the Highways Act 1980 and the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 Orders for diversion and extinguishment purposes, along with Creation Agreements for the dedication of new paths. The list identifies schemes awaiting commencement; those in progress; completed schemes and those either addressed or commenced and then subsequently withdrawn. For further details about a case, please contact the appropriate officer listed on the register. 

Please see the Register of Public Path Diversions, Extinguishments & Creations below.

Diverting a Route

We have the power to make a Public Path Diversion Order under Section 119 of the Highways Act 1980. The Highways Act 1980 makes provision for the diversion of footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways (but not byways) where the proposals are in the interests of the owner, occupier or lessee of the land over which the existing and proposed routes are aligned, with or without an interest to the public at large. 

Please use the Application for a Public Path Diversion - Highways Act 1980 below

We also make Orders to divert a path under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 where a planning application directly affects a Public Right of Way. Please note that such an Order cannot be made retrospectively and must be in place before development works begin.

The local Borough or District Council is the Planning Authority and would usually process these Orders. We make Section 257 Orders on behalf of Maldon District Council, Tendring District Council, Chelmsford City Council, Epping Forest District Council and Uttlesford District Council. For all other Essex areas, please apply direct to the local Borough or District Council.

Please use the Application for public path changes - Town & Country Planning Act 1990 below

Extinguishing a Route

We have the power to make an Extinguishment Order for a footpath or bridleway under Section 118 of the Highways Act 1980. It must be demonstrated that the path is not needed for public use. Temporary obstructions such as fences, rubble or even buildings are not considered by the Courts to be sufficient evidence to claim that there is no public use of the route.

Extinguishment Orders may also be made under Section 257 of the Town and Country Planning Act where it is necessary to remove the route in order to carry out the development. Again, this cannot be done once development works have been completed. We will always look for a potential diversion route before agreeing to an extinguishment. 

The current approximate waiting time for Public Path Order applications to be allocated and begin the Order making process is 12 months. We will update this timeframe information to reflect any changes, as required.

Related pages

Where consultation of Made Orders receive objections and are unable to be confirmed by the County Council, if deemed appropriate they are sent to the Secretary of State for determination.