Throughout the centuries, British law has naturally grown more complex and detailed. As new laws are introduced, it becomes harder for lawmakers to maintain consistency and clarity throughout the legal system. Public footpath law is no exception and we believe that the law on this subject is now getting out of hand
Why we believe some rights of way are unlawful
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Much of the spirit of the text between the above human rights act and this European version is the same. This is good as it brings further legitimacy to the arguments already discussed above. There are a few differences in the text however, one of them being in the section concerning protection of property.
In the European Union's take on rights to property, much of the content is identical to that included in the Human Rights Act 1998 and as such, our interpretation is the same. That is, that footpath law currently infringes on the right to protection of property by allowing members of the public access to private property without permission from the owner of said property. The article also includes a clause that protects the public interest from being compromised as a result of this protection. This clause could nullify our argument by maintaining that keeping traditional public footpaths as they are is in the public interest. However, we believe that the greater public interest lies in promoting the fundamental principles behind basic human rights over preserving the public footpaths that infringe upon these human rights.
The difference in this legislation is that EU human rights insist that where the public interest comes above the right of an individual to the property they own, that individual should be duly compensated. Significantly, we believe this effectively puts a value on the United Kingdom's public footpath network - something that has not necessarily been established before and something that could change how we see footpath rights in the future.