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Deposits under Section 31 (6) Highways Act 1980

Section 31 (6) of the Highways Act 1980 enables landowners to protect their land from gaining public rights of way through use by the public (often referred to presumed dedication). The provisions require landowners to deposit a map, statement and subsequent declaration with the Council showing which rights of way of way they acknowledge over their land. The Council encourages landowners to deposit these documents to protect their interest, and to provide greater certainty for users.

There are several benefits of depositing a map, statement and declaration:

  • It will be possible to allow continued informal use of tracks and paths (for example, by local people) 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 be possible for a right of way to be claimed through presumed dedication (although a claim at common law might be possible) 
  • Any new tracks or paths will be protected automatically from the outset 
  • The deposit will immediately fix a point in time at which any unacknowledged rights are brought in to question by the landowner. This is important if a claim to record a right of way based on use by the public is made to the Council

Depositing a map, statement and 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.

The process for depositing a statement and map were revised on 1st October 2013 following the coming in to force of Statutory Instrument 2013 No 1774.

The major changes are:

  • There is a new application form – see link below. Applications to add deposits, maps and statements will not be accepted unless they comply with the requirements of the prescribed form 
  • Deposits made after 1 October 2013 will be valid for 20 years (previously 10 years) 
  • The Council may charge a fee for receipt of new deposits.

Your deposit, map and subsequent statement under Section 31(6) and the appropriate fee should be sent to:

Rights of Way Section, Bradford Council, 4th Floor, Britannia House, Bradford BD1 1HX

Full details of how to make a deposit a statement and map and the prescribed forms are available on the government website at: Commons Act 2006: landowner statements, highways statements and declarations form.

Combined deposits

Deposits under Section 31(6) may be combined with a deposit under Section 15 of the Commons Act 2006 to protect the land against claims for village green rights. See also the Landowner Statements page.

Register of Maps, Statements & Declarations made under Section 31 (6) Highways Act 1980

The Council keeps a register of deposits under Section 31 (6): 

The full version of the S31(6) Register is held at the Rights of Way Office in Bradford. Please contact the Countryside and Rights of Way Service if you wish to make an appointment to view the register.