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Highways

Although there is no clear statutory definition of a highway, the common law definition is a common route along which people can pass and re-pass as frequently as they wish, without hindrance and without charge. The use must be as of right and not on sufferance or by licence. The highway must be open to all members of the public but can be limited in terms of use, such as pedestrian use in the case of a footpath.

Highways are obviously an important issue for the rural community as footpaths through farmland can often be the topic of a dispute if the surrounding land is damaged or the footpath is disturbed in the course of agriculture, engineering or excavation works.

The Rights of Way Act governs the use of footpaths and the Highways Act, the Highways Agency and local authority determine the width of each public right of way. These laws are complex and breaching them can be costly. Everys rural law team will guide you on the right course of action for your farm or on land.

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