Right to Roam Act 2021

2021 CHAPTER 21

An Act to establish statutory public rights of access to land for recreational and other purposes, and to extend some of the provisions for that purpose to rights of way and other rights; and for connected purposes.
Bill ID LB025
Author(s) The Most Honourable Dame Sir Xanthe Orpheus Florence GCTL KOBC MR, 1st Marquess of Florence
Amended by N/A
First reading 2021 July 11
Royal assent 2021 September 12
Commencement 2023 April 22
Affected legislation N/A

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Right to Roam Bill

1 Access Rights

  1. Everyone has the statutory rights established by this Act.
  2. Those rights (in this Part of this Act called “access rights”) are—
    1. the right to be, for any of the purposes set out in subsection (3) below, on land; and
    2. the right to cross land.
    3. the right to free usage of any of the waterways operated by the Canal & River Trust.
  3. The right set out in subsection (2)(a) above may be exercised only—
    1. for recreational purposes;
    2. for the purposes of carrying on a relevant educational activity; or
    3. for the purposes of carrying on, commercially or for profit, an activity which the person exercising the right could carry on otherwise than commercially or for profit.
  4. The land in respect of which access rights are exercisable is all land except that specified in or under section 2 below.
  5. A person has access rights only if they are exercised responsibly.
  6. In determining whether access rights are exercised responsibly a person is to be presumed to be exercising access rights responsibly if they are exercised so as not to cause unreasonable interference with any of the rights (whether access rights, rights associated with the ownership of land or any others) of any other person, and reasonable care is taken not to cause damage.

2 Exemptions from the access rights

  1. The land in respect of which access rights are not exercisable is land—
    1. to the extent that there is on it—
      1. a building or other structure or works, plant or fixed machinery;
      2. a caravan, tent or other place affording a person privacy or shelter;
    2. which—
      1. forms the curtilage of a building which is not a house or of a group of buildings none of which is a house;
      2. forms a compound or other enclosure containing any such structure, works, plant or fixed machinery as is referred to in paragraph (a)(i) above;
      3. consists of land contiguous to and used for the of a school; or
      4. comprises, in relation to a house or any of the places mentioned in paragraph (a)(ii) above, sufficient adjacent land to enable persons living there to have reasonable measures of privacy in that house or place and to ensure that their enjoyment of that house or place is not unreasonably disturbed;
    3. to which, not being land within paragraph (b)(iv) above, two or more persons have rights in common and which is used by those persons as a private garden;
    4. to which public access is, by or under any enactment other than this Act, prohibited, excluded or restricted;
    5. which has been developed or set out—
      1. as a sports or playing field; or
      2. for a particular recreational purpose
    6. which is used for the working of minerals by surface workings (including quarrying);
    7. in which crops have been sown or are growing;
    8. which has been deemed unsuitable by the Canal & River Trust for public usage;
    9. which the local unitary authority has excluded as a result of a request from the landowner.
  2. For the purposes of subsection (1)(a)(i) above, a bridge, tunnel, causeway, launching site, groyne, weir, boulder weir, embankment of a canalised waterway, fence, wall or anything designed to facilitate passage is not to be regarded as a structure.
  3. Section 2 above does not prevent or restrict the exercise of access rights over any land which is a core path.
  4. Where planning permission for such a development or change of use of land has been granted, the land shall, for the purposes of section 6 above, be regarded, while that development or change of use is taking place in accordance with the permission, as having been developed or having had its use changed accordingly.
  5. For the purposes of subsection (1)(e) above, land which has been developed or set out for a particular recreational purpose does not include land on which groynes have been constructed, deepening of pools has been undertaken, fishing platforms have been erected, or where other works for the purposes of fishing have taken place.
  6. Any landowner may have their land excluded from the provisions of this act by submitting a request to the relevant local unitary authority.

3 Conduct excluded from access rights

  1. Conduct excluded from access rights are—
    1. being on or crossing land in breach of an interdict or other order of a court;
    2. being on or crossing land for the purpose of doing anything which is an offence or a breach of an interdict or other order of a court;
    3. hunting, shooting or fishing;
    4. being on or crossing land while responsible for a dog or other animal which is not under proper control;
    5. being on or crossing land for the purpose of taking away, for commercial purposes or for profit, anything in or on the land;
    6. being on or crossing land in or with a motorised vehicle or vessel (other than a vehicle or vessel which has been constructed or adapted for use by a person who has a disability and which is being used by such a person).

4 Short title, commencement, and extent

  1. This Act may be referred to as the Right to Roam Act 2021.
  2. This Act extends to England.
  3. This Act comes into force on 22 April 2023.