Landowner Declarations - Section 31 Deposits

Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 is a provision through which landowners can help protect themselves from ‘claims’ for Public Rights of Way by depositing a map, statement and declaration with the Public Rights of Way team. 'Claims' for Public Rights of Way are referred to as Definitive Map Modification Order applications.

The statement is a declaration of ownership with the land shown outlined on the accompanying plan, with any acknowledged Public Rights of Way across that land annotated.  The declaration is a demonstration of a landowner’s lack of intention to dedicate any further Public Rights of Way from that day hence. The landowner should then submit a statutory declaration confirming the position set out in the statement. The landowner is responsible for submitting subsequent declarations within 20 years to confirm that either there have been no changes, or to provide details of any changes which have occurred. The effect of a section 31 deposit is to help to protect the land referred to from any claims arising from user evidence during the period of time for which the deposit is valid.

The process for section 31 declarations is outlined below. Charges are applicable for undertaking this process and are stated in the Public Rights of Way Charging Policy (PDF, 73KB). 

  1. Landowner contacts Public Rights of Way Team for information and template statement and statutory declaration
  2. Landowner deposits map and statement of landownership and recorded Public Rights of Way
  3. Landowner submits declaration
  4. Deposit is recorded on register for public viewing
  5. Landowner renews declaration at least every 20 years.

For further information please contact a Definitive Map Officer in the Public Rights of Way team. You can also view the current section 31 register of deposits.

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Page last reviewed: 29 March 2022