North Yorkshire County Council is consulting on a proposal to change the way it prioritises management and maintenance of public rights of way within the county.
There was a 40% cut made to the public rights of way maintenance budget in April 2015. They are not planning further cuts. The proposals in the consultation are a response to the 40% cut and the need to adapt to manage the rights of way network as efficiently as possible with the reduced budget.
The network is one of the longest in the country and in an average year customers will report around 3,000 defects. Maintenance is arranged by a small team of officers with support from landowners, contractors and a dedicated group of countryside volunteers. As a consequence of budget cuts, the service is now looking at ways to continue managing the network with less money.
The proposal to categorise routes and prioritise issues will allow routine maintenance to be focused in areas where paths are agreed as being more important or better used.
Changes put forward also recommend the priority of the route being determined by the value placed on it by the local community.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: A key objective for the council is to make sure our public rights of way network is safe and usable for both residents and visitors alike. The changes proposed as part of the consultation will allow us to prioritise the work involved in doing so.
Measuring the value that different communities place on particular routes is intended to make sure that resources are allocated to maintaining paths that benefit users and local communities the most. I would encourage local people to have their say on this important consultation and help us to shape our plans.
The closing date for this consultation is Sunday, 19 March 2017, and people can participate online at www.northyorks.gov.uk/prowconsultation