Whitworth v Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs [2010] EWCA Civ 1468

27 Jun 2019

Planning and Environment, Public Law and Judicial Review

Lisa represented the Secretary of State in this case, in which the Court held that an Inspector had erred in taking into account the evidence of use of a path through a farm by cyclists when deciding to elevate it from a bridleway to a restricted byway.

Such use ought to have been disregarded, because the determining principle in the designation of the path was acquiescence by the landowner; and, as cyclists had been statutorily entitled to use bridleways since 1968, it had been wrong to infer acquiescence.

The Court considered that it was unnecessary and disproportionate to quash the Inspector’s decision, but that it had no option other than to do so.

In the Court’s further view, that might be the result of a defect in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and it was hoped that attention would be given to amending the legislation to allow for a more flexible remedy.