Rights Of Way In Scilly Investigated By Islander

rocks at peninnisA Garrison resident has tried to find out why Scilly was excluded from an Act of Parliament, drawn up last decade, to allow people the freedom to walk where they want.

And Alan Davis says he’s been surprised by the answer.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act came into force in 2000 and gives people the right to roam in areas of ‘mountain, moor, heath and down’ in addition to registered common land.

It also includes legislation on nature conservation and the operation of AONBs, although it’s just the part on rights of way that don’t apply to the islands.

In reality, people can walk over most of Scilly’s open land, but that’s through so-called “permissive rights” rather than a legal entitlement.

Alan says he was intrigued about why this had happened and thought it might be related to the complex legislation surrounding the Duchy of Cornwall, which owns most of the land in Scilly.

But a Freedom of Information request to Defra has revealed something far simpler – the Council didn’t request it, although Alan says he doesn’t know why.

And he says it could still be solved by the Council asking for an order from the Secretary of State.

The islands are excluded from many key pieces of UK law through the ‘Scilly clause.’

Only last month, Defra launched a consultation over its plans to bring Scilly in line with existing water laws.

That’s to avoid fines from Brussels, which doesn’t recognise the opt-out.

Alan believes the legal right to roam is important in Scilly, especially for tourists who expect to be able to wander anywhere on the islands. He feels the Council should now do some “legal housekeeping” and consider bringing us into line with the rest of the country.