Somerset County Council

Apply to divert a public right of way


A public right of way can be moved to another route for various reasons, in the interest of the public, the landowner, or for development to take place. The applicant must be able to show that the new route will not be substantially less convenient for the public.

Applications to divert public rights of way to enable development to take place are processed by the relevant planning authority. In most cases this will be your district council or Exmoor National Park Authority, if your land lies within the Park boundary. The development should not begin until the public right of way has been diverted.

We usually process applications to divert public rights of way to improve land management, privacy or ease of use for the public, apart from within the Exmoor National Park where they are dealt with by the Park Authority

It is usually the landowner of the public right(s) of way in question who applies for a diversion. But, agents or tenants may apply on behalf of the landowner. 

Costs vary across authorities. Orders that we process are charged at an hourly rate. As a guide, they can cost around £1500 to £2000. 

When considering the new route, you should think about the difference in the length, any field boundaries that need to be negotiated and what kind of access would be required. If creating a new junction with a road, you will need to consider how safe it might be for the public to use compared to the existing junction.

Please contact us to be put in touch with the relevant officer for your area.

Once you have discussed the proposal with the Maintenance Officer, you must fill in a Diversion Order application form, which you can find in the Information and Resources section.

Processing a diversion application involves checking that the proposal complies with the Diversion Order Policy, undertaking statutory consultation, construction, advertising and confirmation of the order.

A simple diversion can take 6 months. But, several things, such as third party interests and objections from the public can delay the Diversion Order process.


Our Diversion Order Policy was adopted in 2008. It relates to diversions done under the Highways Act 1980. The policy sets out the criteria that must be met by applicants and situations where costs may be defrayed.


Contact: Public Rights of Way
Address: Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY
Phone: 0300 123 2224
Fax: 01823 356114
Customer Contact Opening Hours: Monday 8am to 6pm, Tuesday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.
Public Rights of Way Team opening hours: Monday to Thursday 8.30am to 5pm, Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm, Saturday and Sunday closed.

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