Agenda item

Countryside Access Service Unsurfaced Unclassified Roads (UURs) Management Review


Considered – A report of the Countryside Access Manager providing a progress update following the transfer of management responsibility for the maintenance of the entire UUR network within North Yorkshire County Council, including the two National Parks. from Highways & Transportation to the Countryside Access Service (CAS) in July 2018.


Ian Kelly presented the report and provided an overview of partnership working with the two National Parks, user group liaison (understanding their priorities and issues), community engagement and use of individual and third party volunteers.  He went on to outline the process of enforcement undertaken by CAS and provided an understanding of NYCC position on the status of UURs.


It was noted that:

·          The Highways Authority was the only one able to restrict access;

·          Temporary Traffic Restriction Orders (TROs) were an essential tool for CAS enabling works to be undertaken and allowing time for works to bed in, repair and recover;

·          There was currently 11 temporary TROs currently in place by the Highways  Authority and 12 permanent TRO’s, informed by CAS;

·          The County council’s website now included a record of all live temporary and permanent TROs;

·          CAS was now moving into a phase of being able to plan ahead the works to be included in the annual maintenance programme;

·          Representatives from a most user groups attended the regular user liaison group meetings;

·          A Countryside Volunteer Co-ordinator was now in place within the CAS team;  

·          The spectrum of use of the volunteers was broad with further opportunities expected;


The report detailed NYCC Highways’ position on UURs and attention was drawn to paragraph 7.2 of the report that outlined how that was interpreted practically on the ground.


Attention was also drawn to the images in the report, which illustrated the types of remedial works undertaken by CAS as part of their UUR projects, utilising funding from Highways.


Finally, Ian Kelly provided an overview of the next steps, as detailed in the report and confirmed he would welcome the views of NYLAF to assist in the development of an appropriate route prioritisation model to inform future UUR maintenance programmes.


Forum members thanks staff in CAS for the remedial works undertaken to date and noted that many routes became inaccessible due to flooding / drainage problems, and the problems that a blocked ditch could cause elsewhere.  They questioned how many years it would take to complete all of the works in the pipeline based on the annual budget available.  In response, Ian Kelly confirmed it was not that straightforward, as completed works also required an ongoing cyclical maintenance routine, which the budget also needed to cover.


In regard to NYCC Highways’ position on UURs, it was confirmed that CAS did not have the capacity to take a pro-active approach; the DMMO process helped to identify where action needed to be prioritised.  The backlog in maintenance was difficult to assess for UURs. 


It was also confirmed:

·          The backlog in maintenance was difficult to assess for UURs. 

·          UURs were recorded on the List of Streets, and not on the Definitive Map;

·          the DMMO process would have to be followed in order to add a UUR to the Definitive Map

·          There was also a backlog of 162 DMMO applications at present – reference was made to the change in process detailed at the last NYLAF meeting


·          In regard to usage rights on UURs, the following types of evidence were required by the North Yorkshire Highway Authority to prove higher rights:

§   Routes which were improved and adopted under the Agriculture (Improvement of Roads) Act 1955;

§   Inclosure Awards - routes described as ‘public carriage roads’;

§   Tithe Awards - routes referred to as ‘public roads’, often described as being in the ‘ownership’ of the ‘Surveyor of the Highways’;

§   Turnpike, railway and canal company, Deposited Plans subject of an Act of Parliament - routes described as ‘public carriageways’ or Turnpike roads;

§   Other legal orders or creations under statute;

§   Evidence of dedication by landowners and the extent of such dedication.

·          The maintenance budget for UURs had dropped as a direct result of a cut in Local Transport Plan funding from central Government;


Finally, Neil Leighton provided an overview of RTs and how they were maintained, and confirmed that approximately 30 UURs were RT routes.


The Chair thanked officers for their update and Members agreed to note the report.

Supporting documents: