Rights of Way Improvement Plans (England & Wales)

Briefing
Potentially, Rights of Way Improvement Plans can help boost cycling in the countryside

Rights of Way Improvement Plans (England & Wales)

Headline Message 
  • Cycle-friendly Rights of Way Improvement Plans (RoWIPs) can help boost the quantity and quality of routes and open spaces available for cycling in the countryside. They can also help promote them to the public so that more people can enjoy the rights of way network by cycle.
Policy Key Facts 
  • RoWIPs were introduced by s60 of the Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 (CRoW), and all local authorities (apart from inner London authorities), must produce them.
  • In their RoWIPs, local authorities must state the action they propose to take for the management of local rights of way, and for securing improvements.
  • RoWIPs must be based on an assessment of:
    • the extent to which local rights of way meet the present and likely future needs of the public;
    • the opportunities provided by local rights of way (and in particular by footpaths, cycle tracks, bridleways and restricted byways) for exercise and other forms of open-air recreation and the enjoyment of their area;
    • the accessibility of local rights of way to blind or partially sighted persons and others with mobility problems.
  • Local Access Forums (LAFs), parish councils and others are involved with the development of RoWIPs.
  • RoWIPs have to be reviewed after 10 years, but there is no requirement to implement them.
Cycling UK View 
  • There is currently a considerable, suppressed demand for traffic-free off-road cycling routes, especially close to where people live. Provision for family cycling is particularly poor. RoWIPs offer opportunities to improve off-road cycling provision, including for people who use adapted cycles.
  • To maximise the benefits of cycling, the delivery of RoWIPs should:
    • Be informed by a survey of the off-road cycling network to identify gaps and implement improvements 
    • Promote, sign and maintain routes for cyclists 
  • As resources are likely to be limited, RoWIPs benefit from the input of volunteers working through the Local Access Forum (LAF) and in conjunction with local authority staff.
Download the full detailed campaign briefing 
By law, local authorities must develop Rights of Way Improvement Plans (RoWIPs). The plans are a good way of improving opportunities for cycling off-road.