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6. Access


It is estimated that there are 50,000km of paths and tracks in Scotland . SNH have developed a Scottish Paths Record as a planning, monitoring and management tool for local authorities (SNH, 2002). About 15,000km are recorded as rights of way. However, 84% of these routes are "claimed" rights of way, i.e. they have not been asserted and their status is uncertain. The new access rights clearly apply to the majority of existing paths and tracks – including farm tracks.

Local authorities have a duty to draw up a core path plan within 3 years of the legislation being passed. The core path plan will have regard to the likely usage and desirability of paths, and a balance with landowner interests (SNH, 2005a).

The new arrangements for protecting and developing path networks are expected to supercede the existing rights of way arrangements which have proved very difficult to operate. SNH / Paths for All have published guidance on good practice on Core Paths Plans, Outdoor Access Strategies and Local Access Forums. Under the new LMC Menu Scheme, a measure to improve access offers Tier 2 payments for the provision and maintenance of continued access paths across a holding, including signposting, gates, bridges etc. It is expected that the Tier 3 payments (to be introduced in 2007) will also offer an access option.


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