Rights of way improvement plan 2020 to 2030

Last updated: 24 January 2022
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Welcome to the Rights of Way Improvement Plan for Buckinghamshire. The plan sets out our priorities and how the council will improve public rights of way for residents and visitors over the next 10 years. The plan is based on detailed research and analysis. We asked Buckinghamshire residents and users of rights of way for their views before we drafted this plan, as well as many organisations.

Buckinghamshire has outstanding countryside and beautiful landscapes, which residents and visitors alike enjoy through using just over 2,000 miles of rights of way. Our research for this plan has shown us that Buckinghamshire’s residents highly value their rights of way network. Rights of way and the wide range of activities that people can take part in helps to make Buckinghamshire a great place to live and work.

More people now access the countryside and natural spaces for leisure, health and exercise. Rights of way are the most important resource to support them in doing this. Rights of way are free and they stretch across the county, meaning everyone can use them. They are also a critical part of Buckinghamshire’s visitor economy and help to encourage more people to walk or cycle for short journeys.

Buckinghamshire as a county is growing and changing - both in terms of population and in demand for accessing the countryside. The need for public rights of way is greater than ever to support a healthy population and a vibrant economy. However, the rights of way budget has, historically, not kept pace with this increase in demand. I am committed to continue with the capital programme of improvement and repair over the coming years.

The five councils of Buckinghamshire will disappear on the 31 March 2020, to be replaced by a new unitary council. This will bring improvements across the whole council and should not detrimentally affect the resources committed to the Rights of Way Service. The new council has a strong commitment to work closer to all its communities. The active support of volunteers and partners is a great strength of the Rights of Way Service.

We will work hard to maintain and support these valuable relationships and support communities in becoming involved in their rights of way. Whilst this ROWIP is realistic about the challenges faced, it is also ambitious and optimistic. Delivery of the plan will contribute significantly to making Buckinghamshire a healthy, prosperous and enjoyable place in which to live.

Councillor Bill Chapple OBE - Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment