Other problems that you might find on rights of way

What to expect

A member of the public can expect to use a public right of way without obstruction, hazard or unreasonable interference. Please use the list below to identify possible problems and find out more.

Abandoned/burnt-out vehicles

If you find an abandoned vehicle on a public right of way, do not to touch or otherwise interfere with it. Burnt out vehicles can present particular hazards to people, these include sharp edges, broken glass and dangerous substances present after burning. Vehicles will generally be removed by the Borough or District Council. Please contact the relevant district or borough council for your area.

Anti-social behaviour

Issues regarding peoples behaviour on a path, such as theft, intimidation, anti-social behaviour and vandalism will generally be a Police matter.

For emergencies such a serious crime or accident always dial 999.

Surrey Police can be contacted by phone on 0845 125 22 22 (main switchboard).

Non-urgent minor crimes/incidents can also be reported direct to Police on-line. Surrey Police apologise for the interruption in service to www.police.uk and Police Direct. Unfortunately, these services have been temporarily suspended.

A new system is under development and is undergoing testing. This page will be updated each week on the latest status. We are working to ensure that an alternative service will be available as soon as possible.

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Dogs

Dogs will often bark at members of the public entering private land on a public right of way. This is a quite natural reaction as they are likely to want to protect their territory. The animal should not however, present a danger or intimidate to the extent that the path is obstructed. If you encounter a dog acting aggressively, try to act in a calm, friendly and confident manner and continue on your way. If an animal is known to be dangerous, it is an offence for it to be at large where the public have access.

If you feel that an animal presents a genuine hazard and/or effectively blocks use of a path, please report it using our on-line reporting form. The relevant Countryside Access Officer will investigate and may work with the Borough or District Council Dog Warden and/or possibly the Police to resolve the problem.

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Dog-fouling

Dog-fouling on a public right of way is generally dealt with by the Borough or District Council. Please contact the relevant district or borough council for your area.

Fly-tipping

If you find fly-tipping on a public right of way, do not touch or otherwise interfere with it. There is likely to be sharp and otherwise hazardous materials which could injure. Fly-tipping is generally removed by the Borough or District Council under their responsibilities for environmental protection. We may take action to remove any obstructions if the material completely blocks the path. Please contact the relevant district or borough council for your area.

Litter

Litter on a public right of way is generally dealt with by the Borough or District Council. Please contact the relevant district or borough council for your area.

Livestock

Farmers are entitled to keep livestock on land crossed by Public Rights of Way, but the animals should not present a danger to path users. If any animal is known to be dangerous, it is an offence for it to be at large where the public have access. There is specific legislation governing bulls which should be either, not more than ten months old, or of a recognised beef breed and accompanied by cows or heifers. Landowners are urged to check with us if they are at all unclear of the their responsibilities. Should a member of the public be injured by an animal, it is likely that the owner would be legally liable.

If you feel that an animal presents genuine hazard and/or effectively blocks use of a path, please report it using our on-line reporting form. The relevant Countryside Access Officer will investigate, generally with a site visit and may then need to raise the issue with the animals owner.

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Unlawful use

Issues regarding unlawful use of a public right of way may fall between us, the Police and the landowner to deal with. A landowner is entitled to use a path themselves and allow use of a path (if they own the sub-soil underneath) beyond the public rights that may exist. For example, it is not necessarily an offence to ride a horse or bicycle along a footpath if the landowner is in agreement. The use should not however, damage the path surface or endanger the public. Unauthorised use should be reported to us using our on-line reporting form or to the landowner. Unauthorised vehicular use should be reported to the Police.

Surrey Police can be contacted by phone on 0845 125 22 22 (main switchboard).

What happens now?

If you would like to report a problem and feel confident to contact the relevant authority direct, please use the direct links.

If you are unsure which authority to contact or would like further advice, please use our on-line reporting form. Your report will be allocated to the relevant area Countryside Access Officer, who will deal with the matter themselves or refer the matter on to the relevant authority.

The responsible officer will deal with problems that present a significant risk to public safety immediately. If the problem cannot be resolved, the path will be temporarily closed.

Instances of public nuisance are often single events or incidents, so reports from the public are recorded and kept so that persistent/repeat problems can be identified and longer term action taken to prevent them reoccurring.

Use our online form if you need to report a problem. You can also make an enquiry about a rights of way issue.