National Federation of Bridleway Associations

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Limited Special Review

In 1968 yet another opportunity to reduce countryside access for horse riders was created.

The Countryside Act, 1968, Schedule 3, Part III attempted to resolve the issues that had surrounded the RUPP classification. It gave local authorities a time limit of three years in which to carry out a ‘limited special review’ of the status of their RUPPs. During that time they were to be reclassified as Byways Open to all Traffic (BOAT), bridleways or footpaths.

While this did not disadvantage people on foot, it brought into question what was by then established equestrian access. There was alarm as more bridleways were being lost (see Hansard RUPPs). There was also another unintended consequence: hedgerows were being uprooted and ancient tracks were ploughed up, because the statutory width of the paths had been reduced commensurate with their new status.

The local authorities were obliged to deal with another deluge of objections. They were unable to process these within the time limit allowed and had to apply to extend the period. By 1980 some local authorities had accumulated an enormous backlog of claims and could no longer predict when they would be able to resolve them (see Hansard 1978 to 1980).

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