Moray Core Paths Adopted Plan 2011
An Adopted Plan (pdf) has been produced from an extensive public consultation exercise which started in 2007. It contains 39 maps plus insets and three overview maps showing the proposed Moray Core Paths Network. The sections before include objectives and policies focusing on improving the Core Paths development, management and promotion.
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 requires us to draw up a plan for a system of paths (Core Paths) that provides ‘a basic framework of routes sufficient for the purpose of giving the public reasonable access throughout their area.’
The Act required us to have the Plan subjected to public consultation prior to adoption. The plan, which was formally adopted on 28th June 2011, resulted from a two-stage public consultation and Local Inquiry process.
This is the first time such a plan has been produced for the Moray Council area. It covers the area within the Council boundary, but does not include that part of Moray within the Cairngorms National Park, which has its own Core Paths Plan.
This concept is nothing new for us, as we have been working in partnership with local community access groups and other agencies to plan for, develop and manage Local Paths Networks since year 2000.
This plan is not just about Core Paths. The maps show other paths which when put together with Core Paths provide for a comprehensive paths network across Moray. We are interested in looking at the total outdoor access scene rather than solely Core Paths.
Why have Core Paths and What is a Core Path?
The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 gives a right of responsible, non-motorised access to most of the land and inland water of Scotland. It also introduces the term ‘Core Path’. A Core Path can physically be any route – a right of way, farm track, an old drove road, a minor public road or even a river.
Although the Act allows any route to be a Core Path, the Scottish Government has set out some characteristics of a Core Path including:
- should be signed at key access points
- should be accessible to all users as far as is practical
- can have a variety of path surfaces
Core paths should be considered as part of wider Moray Paths Network and not just paths in isolation. Taking the whole network forward through a plan of action could help realise many benefits for Moray including better health, reduction in car usage, improvements in public safety, and more visitors to the area. An integrated Paths network will provide a valuable, freely available community facility for everybody to use.
The adopted Moray Core Paths Plan provides for this ‘Plan of Action’ and is the best way to focus resources to improve things on the ground.
How were the Core Paths Chosen?
The Core Paths shown on maps within this Adopted Moray Core Paths Plan were derived from an extensive public consultation exercise started in 2007 on the initial Consultative Draft Plan and a later Final Draft Plan in 2008. As a result of many comments received, a finalised Plan was produced in 2009 which had a greater number of Core Paths, more information on the physical nature of each route and a better overall integrated Core Paths network. The finalised Plan was subjected to a Local Inquiry to resolve 16 outstanding formal objections and was subsequently adopted in June 2011. There has been comprehensive input at all stages in the Plan making process from the Moray Local Outdoor Access Forum particularly in devising Core Path criteria and selection of routes. The Moray LOAF, which is representative of all access stakeholders has worked towards a consensus approach.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Please also note that a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) has been carried out and an Environmental Report (pdf) has been prepared, which has informed the production of the Adopted Plan.
What Happens Now?
We have a statutory duty to only produce the Core Paths Plan which requires to be reviewed There is no statutory deadline date for review but it is recommended every 5 years or so (ie next review by 2016). We will strive to work in partnership with others to develop, manage and sign the Core Paths network in Moray.
Moray Outdoor Access