The Definitive Map and Statement of Public Rights of Way is a register and description of all known public rights of way in the borough with the exception of the South Shields excluded area. There are a number of ways to alter the map and statement to add, divert or extinguish public rights of way, through legal orders.
Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the surveying authority must have a Definitive Map Modification Order Register. The register must be available in paper and electronic form, and the electronic version must be available on the website.
A Definitive Map Modification Order places a public right of way, which already exists, on the ground on to the Definitive Map and Statement. It does not alter the status of the path or create a route where none previously existed (this is done through other types of order). A Definitive Map Modification Order can be made by South Tyneside Council either on its own initiative or following an application to the council.
This is a register of Highways Act 1980 Section 31(6) declarations, statements and maps that enable landowners to acknowledge that the public use routes across their land and, in doing so, create a presumption that they have no intention to dedicate any further routes over land shown on the deposited map.
Landowners can protect themselves against rights of way claims based solely on public use by depositing with South Tyneside Council, a map, statement and a statutory declaration showing which public rights of way they recognise over their land, if any. The Council encourages landowners to deposit these documents to protect their interest and to provide greater access for users.
There are several benefits of depositing a map, statement and a statutory declaration:
It will be possible to allow continued informal use of tracks and paths without fear of a public right of way being gained on the basis of future use
Where a track or path has been used by the public, but for less than 20 years, it will not become possible for a right of way to be claimed through presumed dedication (although a claim through Common Law may be possible);
Any new tracks or paths will be protected automatically from the outset; and
The deposit will immediately fix a point in time in which any unacknowledged rights are brought into question by the landowner. This is important if a claim to record a public right of way based on use by the public is made to the Council.
Depositing a map, statement and statutory declaration does not remove any public rights of way that are already recorded legally, or that have already been established through past use by the public
From the date of deposit, it will not be possible to establish any additional rights of way over the land by usage. The deposits need to be renewed every 20 years.
However it is still possible for a right of way to be established by way of twenty continuous and uninterrupted use prior to the deposit. A right of way can also be established if historical evidence is found, which shows that a public right of way already exists or is reasonably alleged to subsist. In either of these instances an application can be made for a modification order to add the way to the Definitive Map and Statement.
The intention of the register is to increase knowledge amongst landowners, users of rights for way, and the general public about applications concerning routes, which landowners do not intend to dedicate as Public Rights of Way.
South Tyneside Council holds any Section 31(6) deposits for the South Tyneside borough. To view the deposits go to:
For further information on Section 31(6) deposits or landowners wishing to make a declaration, please contact the Public Rights of Way Officer on 0191 424 7498 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org