Landowner statements and declarations
Section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 and Section 15A(1) Commons Act 2006
Section 31(6) of the Highways Act 1980 provides a way which landowners can protect their land from public rights of way coming into existence across it, as a result of public use. It requires a map and statement to be deposited with the County Council, outlining the extent of the land in their ownership and showing the existing public rights of way and highways which cross it. In order to continue this protection, a statutory declaration must be deposited with the County Council by the landowner within 20 years of the deposit of a map and statement.
The declaration may provide sufficient evidence to protect the landowner from any additional routes being dedicated as public rights of way across their land through public use. In Defra’s view, for a declaration to be effective as evidence against presumed dedication, the lodging of the Declaration must be a separate event after the deposit of the statement (i.e. not at the same time), but no more than 20 years later.
Section 15A(1) Commons Act 2006 provides a way for landowners to bring to an end any period of recreational use “as of right”, before the date that the statement is deposited on the register on the land outlined on the statement map. It does not however, prevent a new period of recreational use from commencing after the deposit of the statement.
A declaration placed on the Section 31(6) and/or Section 15A(1) register is valid for 20 years (10 years pre 2013) from the date it is received by the County Council. During this time it may be renewed for a further 20 years, and again, will be valid from the date the renewal is received. If no renewal is received, the declaration is seen as “expired”. However, it is kept on the register to provide evidence that a landowner has made a declaration within the past 20 years.
A person may wish to claim that they have used a route or a piece of land for the 20 years required to trigger presumed dedication. However, they would have to use the route or land for the full 20 years following the expiry of the declaration, in order to provide the required evidence.
Once the full 40 years (20 years pre 2013) have passed, the statement and declaration will be removed from the register. Landowners should therefore be aware that declarations under either Act should be renewed within the 20 years deadline to ensure they are covered by the legislation.
Site notices are required to be put up for deposits under Section 15A(1). This will be done by ourselves and should stay in place for 60 days. These are provided to inform people of the landowners intent; that they are bringing to an end the use of the land “as of right” as explained above. This will have no bearing on planning applications or the future use of the land.
Please note: In its capacity as Highways Authority and Commons Registration Authority, Staffordshire County Council administers the register of these statements and declarations as a legal obligation. There is no requirement within the relevant legislation for either the landowner or Staffordshire County Council to consult with residents or neighbours as part of this process. The legislation only allows for the rejection of applications where there are factual inaccuracies.
Application fees and process
Please read the guidance notes on the DEFRA website before making an application.
Please complete the CA16 Form (1 MB) which is the application form for Deposits and Declarations under both sets of regulations.
- If you are depositing a Statement and map and lodging a Declaration under Section 31(6) only (part B and C on Form CA16), the fee is £225.
- If you are also depositing a Statement under Section 15A(1) of the Commons Act (part D on Form CA16 below), the total fee for both is £460.
- If a Statement was deposited with the council before 1st October 2016 and has yet to have a Declaration lodged with the authority, a fee of £75 will be charged to add the Declaration to the Register.
- If you are resubmitting a Declaration to renew a previous deposit that a) hasn’t expired and b) has no change to the boundary of the land, a fee of £75 will be charged to update the Register.
- If the boundary of the land has changed, you will need to deposit a new Statement and Declaration either for all the land or just for any additional area. The fees will be as above.
We will add applications made after October 2013 onto our declaration and statements page as soon as possible. This will include the application and maps of land under application.
The details supplied by you for an application under Section 31(6) Highways Act 1980 and Section 15A(1) Commons Act 2006 will be stored on our Section 31(6) and Section 51A(1) Register and used to:
- administer the Register;
- comply with the legislation under the above Acts
As well as being stored on these web pages, these will also be stored in paper form at our offices at our address below.
Further information is available on our Data Protection standards page.
Submission and contact details
Please complete and submit the form online, using the CA16 form. This link will open a PDF document, which can be submitted to the appropriate email address, using the 'submit' button on the form. This will open up your email. You also need to attach a scanned copy of your map along with the form. Please let us know by email how you wish to pay and we will get back in touch.
Payments can be made with a cheque for the appropriate amount made payable to Staffordshire County Council and sent to the address below. You can also contact us to pay by BACS or card.
Landowner Statements and Declarations
Spatial Information Team
Staffordshire County Council,
Staffordshire Place 1,
Please contact us for more details: