You need permission to erect a new gate across a public footpath or bridleway on your land; if you don't it means the gate is unauthorised, and classed as an obstruction to the right of way. Gates can be authorised where they are required for the control of livestock, forestry purposes or for the breeding or keeping of horses. New stiles will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
You should always apply for authorisation before installing a new gate on a public footpath or bridleway. Failure to do so could result in enforcement action being taken to remove the structure. If authorised, new gates must not be locked. New gates cannot be authorised on restricted byways or byways open to all traffic.
Who can use it?
The landowner or occupier can apply, although they must get consent from all persons that would be affected by the proposal. If you live within the Somerset part of Exmoor National Park then applications should be made to the Exmoor National Park Authority.
How do I use it?
To apply, simply fill in the application form and either return by email or send to the address given on the form. Where other people are affected please get them to fill out the consent form and attach this to your application. Both forms can be found under Information and resources.
What happens next?
Your application will be investigated and it may be considered that local consultation is required.
If your application is approved, you will be sent a certificate of authorisation and the new gate will be added as a land charge to the property concerned.
Once installed, we will inspect the new gate to make sure it is as per your application.
What is covered?
We will only consider applications if the new gate is required for the control of livestock, forestry purposes or for the breeding or keeping of horses. If you wish to install a gate across a public footpath or bridleway for reasons other than the above then please contact us for an informal discussion.
How long does it take?
Applications are usually determined within 4 to 6 weeks.
How much does it cost?
There is a charge of £50 for one location, and an extra £10 for additional locations within the same locality. These charges also apply for applications for limitations under s115b Highways Act 1980.
Authorisation of gates is covered in the Maintenance and Enforcement Policy under information and resources.
Where possible, we encourage landowners to seek the most accessible type of structure to reduce inconvenience to members of the public. There are several stockproof designs of gates which provide for easy public access.