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Who has duties and powers

Man in blue jacket sitting on red bench, looking out to the Firth of Clyde

Duties and powers under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003

Access Authority: (The ‘access authority’ is the local authority or the national park authority).


  • Publicise the Code - s10
  • Uphold access rights – s13
  • Core paths planning: prepare, adopt review, s17,18,20
  • Establish a local access forum, s25
  • Review (and modify) any existing byelaws within 2 years, s30


  • Exempt land from access rights for short periods, s11
  • Make byelaws, s12
  • Removal of prohibition signs, obstructions, etc, s14
  • Measures for safety, protection, guidance, s15
  • Land acquisition, s16
  • Maintenance of and directions to core paths, s19
  • Path agreement, s21,  Path order, s22
  • Control ploughing etc of core paths and rights of way, s23
  • Appointment of rangers and access officers, s24
  • Powers of entry to land, s24,26
  • Entitlement to be party to any declaration proceedings by the sheriff, s28

Scottish Natural Heritage:

Duties:  to draw up and issue the Scottish Outdoor Access Code; to publicise and to promote understanding of the Code; and to keep the Code under review, s10.

Powers:   to modify the Code after review, s10;  powers to protect the natural heritage, s29

Entitlement: to be consulted over byelaws, s12; and core paths plans, s18


Sheriff court:

Powers:  to issue a declaration,s28, over -

  • whether specified land is land where access rights are exercisable
  • whether a person is responsible in their exercise of access rights or their management of land where access rights are exercisable
  • whether a path is a right of way of any sort